Identifying Food Triggers with Atopic Dermatitis
Last updated: February 2020
Have you ever connected the dots between a food allergy and skin distress? Many of us have been curious about how certain foods interact with our skin. It may be wise to try and pinpoint exactly which ones are the culprits. If we find that there are food triggers, we can avoid skin reactions by eating things that make our skin glow instead of grow itchy and red rashes.
It can be tricky because some foods might not cause our skin to break out with a rash, itching, or redness, but if we have troubled skin, those same foods may make it worse. They can trigger, or even lengthen the amount of time we have a flare-up.
When living with atopic dermatitis, there are foods we can avoid, and other foods that will nourish your skin. The best way to find out is by trying an elimination diet. We did it when my granddaughter was very young. It was easier to limit her exposure to foods because she wasn’t tall enough to reach the cabinet yet! Try it yourself by starting off with some of the common allergens listed below and follow the elimination diet.
Steps to an elimination diet
Stop eating all the “Foods to Avoid” for at least 3 weeks. This includes eating processed foods that may contain even tiny amounts of a potential allergen. Get ready to read some labels. For example, eating bread that is wheat free, but made with eggs can NOT be eaten during that period. Also, check the ingredients at restaurants, or try not to eat out during that time period. It’s hard, I've been there - but it can be done and goes quickly. Next, make notes about 3 different categories: tummy, skin, and mental alertness.
Start introducing only 1 item at a time (for 1 week each) after the 3 week elimination period is over. Take note of any changes in the tummy, skin, and mental alertness. If all is well, proceed to the next item on the avoid list and add it for 1 week. Repeat the process. If at any time, you notice stomach upset, skin rash or itching, or mental distress such as headaches, fatigue, or excitability, discontinue that food.
Foods to avoid with atopic dermatitis
- Soy products
- Dairy products
- Citrus Fruits
Congratulations! You've now narrowed down the allergens that trigger a flare! It’s amazing how smart our tummy is. Many problems can occur because we don’t always have an ability to slow down and take the time to listen to our body. An elimination diet, with a food diary, can help you. By eating only “safe” food, that has been shown to have little or no allergic response, you get all the nourishment you need. It could be that only 1 or 2 items on your list produce an allergic response! But now you know, and it’s the knowledge of what to avoid that helps empower us to make wise choices.
We knew that some common food allergies can be connected to our skin health. By eating a balanced diet, and restricting certain foods, we may find that our skin troubles are a lot less bothersome.
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