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Foods You Should Avoid Giving Your Children With Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common chronic skin condition characterised by inflammation, dry patches and itchiness of the skin. Eczema is often found in young children, especially babies who are between three to six months of age.

According to a study, the rate of eczema among children has been increased in the past three decades. Also, though genetic linkage is considered to be the main cause of eczema in children, several studies also establish the link between food and aggravation of eczema. [1]

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This is because the active compounds in certain foods can trigger eczema when introduced at a very early age. This makes the timing of the introduction of solid food in babies a very important factor in the prevention of eczema.

In this article, we will discuss some of the foods you should avoid giving your children if they have been diagnosed or are at risk of developing eczema. Take a look.

1. Eggs

A study suggests that the elimination of eggs from the diet can benefit children with eczema. The study adds that around 75 per cent of children with eczema have practised food elimination to improve their symptoms, out of which 27 per cent have eliminated eggs and has noticed a significant improvement.

Therefore, avoiding the consumption of eggs can help reduce eczema in children with any severity scores: mild, moderate or severe. [2]

2. Cow's milk

Breastmilk is vital for babies for up to four months compared to feeding formula, especially those made with cow milk protein. A study has shown that early introduction of cow milk feeding formula to babies can increase the risk of atopic dermatitis while introducing them after six months of age can delay or prevent the condition in babies with high risk.

Also, experts suggest delaying cow's milk for up to a year. Hydrolysed feeding formulas can be a better option compared to cow protein-based formulas. [3] The consumption of leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified orange juice, and multivitamin/mineral supplements can help maintain the calcium amounts in the body.

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3. Birch-pollen foods

Some of the birch pollen foods include apple, cherry, kiwi, peach, almonds, carrot, hazelnut, plum and pear. [4] They are the dominant trees in Europe and are responsible for affecting around 20 per cent of the population with birch pollen allergies during the flowering season.

Though avoiding all the aforementioned birch-pollen fruits are not completely recommended by experts, they can be avoided in their flowering season as they can make the symptoms worse in some ways. Therefore, it is better to avoid these foods or consult a medical expert to get diagnosed to know exactly which food may trigger the symptoms. [5]

4. Seafood and fish

Seafood and fish are storehouses of nutrients like proteins and omega-3 that extensively helps in the growth and development of a baby. However, these foods are among the list of food allergens that may trigger eczema or worsen the symptoms. A study carried out on 100 Indian children has shown that when seafood like prawns and sea fish were eliminated from their diet for three weeks, their severity score of eczema have been reduced. [6]

Other studies say that including fish once a week in the diet of a one-year-old can help reduce the occurrence of eczema by 28 per cent and other allergies like asthma and wheezing. [7]

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5. Peanuts

Studies say that most of the food allergies in children tend to disappear with age, however, some allergies like peanut allergy are likely to persist for a longer duration or throughout life. A restricted food diet for a year or two can help the children to develop immunity against the allergen in peanuts, however, there is a much higher possibility of returning of symptoms when the food is introduced again.

Some studies also say that when peanut is introduced to high-risk children at an early age, chances are that it may help develop immunity against the food and lower the incidence of triggers of symptoms. The study needs more data on the topic. However, for the time being, it is better to avoid giving peanuts to children with eczema. [8]

To Conclude

Many of the food allergies may get resolved during early childhood and the presence of other food allergies is not considered the triggering factor of eczema in older children. Also, the severity and reactions of eczema vary from child to child.

Though avoiding the aforementioned foods may help reduce the symptoms to a great extent, it may cause children to miss out on vital nutrients. Therefore, if your baby has been diagnosed with eczema at a very early age, it is good to take advice from a medical expert regarding the food alternatives along with how to deal with the condition.

What foods can trigger eczema in babies?

Foods like peanuts, milk, seafood, cow milk and birch pollen foods like apple, cherry, kiwi, peach, almonds, carrot, hazelnut, plum and pear can trigger eczema in babies. The risk is more if there is a family history of eczema. Consult a medical expert for alternatives of foods that may trigger or is causing eczema in children.

What food should a child with eczema eat?

The timing of the introduction of solid foods matters a lot compared to the food itself. Some of the best foods a child with eczema can eat are fatty fish like salmon and herring; foods rich in probiotics like yoghurt and tempeh, and foods rich in antioxidant quercetin such as broccoli, kale and certain berries.

Can eczema in babies go away?

Eczema is a chronic condition that can only be managed throughout life. However, some babies may be able to develop immunity against food allergens like seafood as they grow older. This can only be possible when such eczema-triggering foods are introduced to babies at a very young age so that their immune system can develop adjusting to the food allergen.