How to heal your eczema with plants!
We know it's itchy, stubborn, irritating and in some cases painful. But, with a vegan diet, you can get control of your eczema and manage your flare-ups. As someone who has personally struggled with Eczema, switching to a vegan & gluten-free diet has helped me greatly.
What We Know About Eczema:
Eczema is a stubborn inflammatory condition of the skin that persists or reoccurs throughout one's lifetime. The main causes of eczema are allergies and food sensitivities, inflammation, a weakened immune system and stress. What's amazing about all of these causes is that we have the knowledge and tools to beat them! For example, if you eliminate allergens and food sensitivities from your diet you can reduce your risk of an eczema flare up (once you have identified what these are). Similarly, if you eliminate inflammatory foods such as dairy, meat, refined sugar, glutenous grains and processed grains, the severity of your eczema and the frequency of flare-ups will also improve. Likewise, introducing immune boosting foods and supplements into your diet while reducing stress levels or developing healthy stress management tools will go a long way!
We know how frustrating elimination diets, lifestyle changes and flare-up management can be, so we have developed a small guide on how a plant-based diet can help your eczema, the plants you should eat, and herbs you should use to make your experience a bit easier.
Why a Vegan diet can help you manage your eczema:
1. A Balanced Plant-Based Diet is Anti-Inflammatory
The main inflammatory foods are animal products and animal by-products, along with, sugar, caffeine and glutenous or processed grains. Excluding these foods from your diet and replacing them with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other plant-based goodies will reduce the levels of inflammation in your body. Since we know that eczema is an inflammatory condition, a balanced plant-based diet can significantly reduce one's eczema symptoms.
2. A Plant-Based Diet is High in Antioxidants
As we know, eczema is prevalent in those with a compromised or weak immune system. If our immune system is compromised we not only feel it but see it. A plant-based diet is full of immune boosters (such as healing mushrooms) and antioxidants (such as berries) which protect, strengthen and build one's immune system. Eating plants is not only kind to animals and the environment, but to ourselves (and our skin).
3. A Plant-Based Diet Has Been shown to boost mental health
Eczema flares up in times of stress. A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and provide overall clarity of the mind. Due to the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, the serotonin found in fruits and some grains like oatmeal and the tryptophan found in nuts and seeds. A plant-based diet, combined with stress management activities or light exercise, can significantly decrease the frequency and intensity of your eczema flare-ups.
Foods That Help:
1. Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Cranberries and Blackberries
- Contain Quercetin, a powerful antioxidant and natural antihistamine. Quercetin is anti-inflammatory and can decrease histamine levels.
2. Coconut Kefir, Coconut Yogurt, Tempeh, Kimchi and Other Fermented Foods
- High in good bacteria, live cultures and probiotics which protect the immune system and promote a healthy gut. Don't forget, a healthy immune system starts with your gut.
3. Hemp Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax Seeds, Avocado, Avocado Oil, Hemp Seeds and Chia Seeds
- High in omega's and essential fatty acids which are essential for maintaining the integrity and health of the skin.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables, such as Broccoli, Celery, Kale, Broccoli Sprouts, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower
- High in antioxidants which fight free radicals that attack your skin. They also support gut health and in turn, boost your immune system.
- Contains Bromaline, a healing, inflammatory agent that assists with nutrient absorption, healthy digestion and has been used to treat allergies and asthma. These conditions have a strong correlation to eczema, therefore, pineapple is your pal when combatting eczema.
Herbs That Help:
1. Turmeric (Internally & Topically)
- Contains Curcumin, an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent. Curcumin can be used to reduce the inflammation which causes eczema.
2. Calendula or Marigold
- When applied topically, Calendula heals and soothes the skin affected by eczema. Calendula is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, therefore, it can calm down the inflammation that causes eczema and heals the areas in which eczema has spread.
3. St John's Wort
- With it's anti-inflammatory and calming properties. St John's Wort is an extremely effective topical remedy for treating eczema symptoms.