My 5 Favorite Go-To Foods For Eczema Inflammation
Last updated: September 2023
I have had eczema for a long time (over three decades) and have always bounced back no matter how bad my flare-up has gotten. But despite having a positive track record, there are still times I will indulge in food (especially around the holidays) and eat too much sugary or spicy food because it tastes so good. And before I know it, I will start to have swelling, itching, and other signs of inflammation and will quickly need to pivot and go in a more healing and cooling direction to relieve my rashes. In this article, I share five of my favorite natural sources of food medicine to help me and my skin cool down.
Fresh ginger root tea. Although ginger has a warm, spicy flavor to it, in Chinese Medicine, it is actually very balancing and harmonizing to the body energetically and physiologically and helps with digestion. Because many of my flare-ups have resulted from the food I eat, I find that drinking this herb as a tea (just slice about five 1-inch pieces of the fresh root in 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes, then strain and drink) has been very helpful for me to improve my digestive process. It also has the added benefits of being antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, which is generally beneficial overall for your immune system, which the skin is a part of.
Asian pear. This is different from the green pair, which has a more hourglass shape. Asian pear has a round shape similar to that of an apple, and its skin is more golden and peachy. The main differences between these pears are that the Asian pear’s fruit has higher water content, and its texture is more like jicama. It is sweet and very hydrating, which I find to help calm down my mind with the sweetness and my skin with the hydration. This helps me to relax from flaring. Also, the high fiber content helps me to have better stools and to cool down the inflammation from particularly spicy food that I occasionally enjoy eating. Also, the aroma and flavor are kind of floral, which reminds me of the fragrance of Jasmine flowers which is one of my favorite fragrances. It is very calming and harmonizing to the nervous system according to herbalism.
Bittermelon. I have to admit that I have a special affinity towards this fruit because it is my mom's favorite food to eat. She grew up eating it as a child while living in the Philippines, and she passed along that tradition to me growing up in the United States. It is true to its name, so I recommend boiling it until it is soft (about 5-10 minutes sliced diagonally) and seasoning it with some salt and lemon juice to balance out the bitter flavor. It pairs pretty well with eggs, meats, and other vegetables like carrots and eggplant (if you are not allergic to them). I enjoy eating it with rice and chicken, and that helps with my digestion. Bittermelon is also a blood purifier and lowers blood sugar levels which can be very useful if your rashes are triggered by high sugar and carb intake. It also improves the function of the liver and gallbladder, which are very important for detoxifying the body and breaking down fats and proteins according to Chinese Medicine.
Blueberries. This is a pretty obvious and popular food for improving health and cooling down inflammation. I find that after eating these, they cool down my body temperature, which seems to help with cooling down the heat, swelling, and redness from rashes. They also are really good for brain function and calming the mind. This is very important for making better decisions about one’s health and what food one chooses to eat, which will definitely benefit the skin.
Milk thistle and dandelion root tea. Either equal parts or 2 parts milk thistle to 1 part dandelion root steeped for about 5 minutes. These herbs are specifically good for supporting and nourishing the liver, which is our organ of detoxification. I find this tea to be a nice alternative to coffee. I’ll even add some oat milk and maybe a very light amount of stevia to turn it into a milk tea, which can be pleasant with breakfast.
If you are struggling with a flare-up, I hope that one of these suggestions will help you with cooling down the inflammation. Good luck, and please share any of your own favorite foods to calm down inflammation in the comments below!
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