Brits who want to avoid a an eczema flare up should avoid ice cream, beer and milkshakes during hot weather, according to a food intolerance specialist.
Living with skin conditions can often be painful and uncomfortable at the best of times but with the summer’s persistent and sometimes humid heat, eczema sufferers are at risk of more aggressive flare-ups.
Eczema symptoms can be triggered by any number of dietary and environmental factors including food, weather and even the washing detergent you use.
Zoë Palmer-Wright, nutritional therapist at YorkTest, has given her insight into the foods those suffering from eczema should try to avoid to prevent itchy and painful flare-ups this summer.
Nutritionist Zoë says: “Dairy is a common trigger when it comes to skin conditions from acne to eczema, so, unfortunately, milkshakes may be off the summer shopping list.
“When diagnosed with eczema, often one of the first things a person is told is to try to avoid dairy products. Food intolerances can lead to inflammatory reactions of the immune system which can cause skin flare-ups.”
Alternative: Intolerance to milk could be causing your eczema to worsen, so opting for plant-based milkshakes instead could help to prevent flare-ups.
Nutritionist Zoë says: “This one may be the hardest one to accept, but most alcoholic drinks contain gluten, which is a big no-no for some eczema sufferers. When it’s hot you may want to crack open a cold beer, but if you’re susceptible to eczema, you should double-check the ingredients list first.
“Thankfully, there are now a number of gluten-free beers and cocktails available on supermarket shelves for those with eczema or gluten intolerance this summer.”
Alternative: Most ciders, wines, and spirits are gluten-free.
Eggs are a common trigger for those suffering from eczema.
Nutritionist Zoë says: “According to some reports, more than 70 per cent of eczema sufferers react to eggs. So whether you were planning on digging into a classic British quiche or light and delicious meringues, you might have to think again.
“Opting to cook with egg alternatives may result in your symptoms easing if eggs are a trigger for you. For the time being, you might have to give the scrambled eggs a miss!
Alternative: Vegan quiche, aquafaba and ground flax seeds are all common egg replacements depending on what you’re making.
Nutritionist Zoë says: “For many people opting for a plant-based diet, whether that be because they have a food intolerance or they’re wanting to have a healthier lifestyle, tofu is perhaps the most common meat alternative.
“However, tofu is made from soy, which can cause flare-ups of eczema. As an additive, soy is in a variety of products on supermarket shelves so making sure you read food labels is important if you want to identify your trigger foods and get the most out of your summer.”
Alternative: Lentils, jack fruit, high-protein vegetables and most beans are all great alternatives to tofu and ideal for those wanting to follow a meat-free diet.
- Ice cream
Nutritionist Zoë says: “As we look forward to enjoying some of the great weather coming our way, most of us will be heading to the ice cream van to help us cool down. But for those suffering from eczema, that might not be the best idea.
“Most of our frozen favourites will contain dairy, an ingredient known to aggravate eczema symptoms.”
Alternative: Frozen grapes, frozen bananas and fruit ice lollies are ideal in cooling down this summer, without upsetting your stomach or triggering an eczema flare-up.
She continued: “Many people with eczema have underlying food intolerances, which means their immune systems produce antibodies to some foods.
“By pinpointing and eliminating the foods which cause an immune reaction, drive inflammation and trigger eczema flare-ups, it may be possible to reduce the inflammation, redness and itching and help prevent future eczema outbreaks.”
Nutritionist Zoë adds: “Ultimately, eczema is a sign that your body is inflamed and the immune system is overactive.
“So, if you are struggling with eczema, your question should be ‘what is causing my body to be inflamed? One of the possible answers could be your diet.
“Identifying food sensitivities on your own can be challenging but it’s important that if you do suspect your diet is playing a role, not to try wide-ranging elimination diets on your own. Instead, get in touch with a food intolerance expert or nutritionist and get tested.
“Regardless of what foods are triggering the condition, you still need a healthy balanced diet and working with a nutritionist will ensure you get that.”