Itchy red patches and skin conditions can really knock a person’s confidence, especially when you just want to scratch and scratch.
According to the NHS, there is no cure for atopic eczema (the most common type of inflammation of the skin), but ahead of National Eczema Week (September 13 to 21), there are a few choices you can make at mealtimes to stop the flare-ups and calm red, swollen or itchy skin.
Some foods such as eggs and cows’ milk can trigger eczema symptoms, so it might be best to avoid those scrambled eggs at breakfast and try switching to soya milk for your favourite breakfast cereal.
The expert view
"The term eczema literally means ‘to boil over’, which well describes the irritation and inflammation of the skin associated with this condition,” says Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at Superfooduk.com.
“Trigger factors could include a family history, food intolerance, leaky gut, stress, low immunity, depleted ‘friendly’ bacteria, and increased histamine production.
“It may be sensible to start with a course of probiotics, as there is good research to show that people are less likely to suffer eczema if they have a healthy amount of good bacteria.
“This is because healthy bacteria may help improve digestion and reduce any immune response,” says Wilkinson.
Having a food intolerance test can help, but while you’re waiting for the results or when no amount of moisturiser will work, here are some eczema-friendly foods to help decrease inflammation and promote skin repair…
1. Beef or chicken broth
As well as being good for a hangover, chicken broth supplies skin-repairing amino acid glycine.
2. Omega 3 fish oils
These gel caps can lower blood pressure and may help relieve itching and swollen skin.
High in potassium, they also contain histamine-lowering nutrients, magnesium and vitamin C.
Try to increase your intake of bioflavonoid-containing berries such as blueberries which are packed full of goodness and should be part of your eight to 10 portions a day
Whether you eat flax, pumpkin, sesame or sunflower, the essential fatty acids in seeds can help ease eczema.
6. Oily fish
Salmon, mackerel and sardines are considered ‘super foods’ and along with lowering blood pressure and being a good source of vitamin D, protein and some B vitamins, they’re good for the skin.
7. Fresh veg
Eating a wide variety of fresh vegetables (and fruit), ideally eight to 10 servings per day, will optimise your nutrient and antioxidant levels
Have you started to suffer from eczema later in life? Tell us in the Comments section below.