UPDATED: 9/19/2020. If you have a toddler with eczema issues and you’re often wondering what food to give your child, then this article may help you. There are many theories about what causes eczema in children. One article suggests that eczema is due to the immune system not working properly[1]. Eczema is a chronic skin condition due to inflammation. There are many foods that can either help or worsen eczema. It’s important to know what foods to give your child and what foods to avoid with eczema in toddlers. I hope the following information will help guide you.

 

foods to avoid with eczema in toddlers

What Foods Trigger Eczema in toddlers?

 

The following foods have been identified in a study for triggering eczema, so they should be avoided:

  • candy
  • chocolate
  • pastries
  • potato chips
  • French fries
  • sweets
  • dairy items
  • gluten-rich items like wheat, barley, rye products
  • white flour products
  • high fat-containing food items
  • shellfish
  • pork
  • nightshades like eggplant, tomatoes, white potatoes, paprika, peppers

       

 

Are there certain foods that my child should eat?

 

Eczema can be treated from both the inside (ie gut) and outside (ie skin). Many times the focus is on the skin and what products we can use including steroids. Many parents become concerned about topical products and their possible side effects with right reason. For example, there is concern about the long-term application of steroids on young children. Parents usually want some alternative therapy to improve their child’s eczema.

 

In addition to finding the right topical product which helps your child’s skin, making dietary changes may also be helpful. As the saying goes, what we eat is what we become. Nutrition is a hot topic as a way to treating eczema. That’s why it is important to know what foods to avoid with eczema in toddlers

 

Probiotics

 

Probiotics are the live microorganisms that are present in our gut and provide health benefits. You may know that our gut wall contains friendly microbiota which aids in digestion and overall immunity. Allergy-prone children have an association with poor gut bacteria. Scientific researchers assumed that this could influence eczema. One research article revealed that probiotic intake could reduce the eczema score in children greater than one year of age. [3]

The following types of food contain probiotics-

  • Non-dairy probiotic products are becoming more available such as fruits, vegetable, beverages, cereal, chocolate, meat, etc.[4]
  • Dairy products like fermented milk, yogurt, ice-cream, and cheese. Although these are a source of probiotics, they should be avoided in children with eczema since it can cause eczema to flare. Kefir (an acidic-alcoholic fermented milk product) may be considered. I have given to this to my children and they have tolerated well

 

 

Fatty Fish

 

Fatty fish (i.e. salmon, sardine, mackerel, herring) containing oil rich in omega 3 (ω-3) fatty acids may help to decrease inflammation. [2] Modern Western diet contains predominant omega (ω-6) fatty acids over ω-3 fatty acids (ratio of about 10-50:1) instead of 4:1, which can increase inflammation in our bodies [14]. To combat this, we should increase our intake of omega 3 fatty acids.

 

Foods Containing Quercetin

 

Quercetin is a phytonutrient that has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin decreases IgE antibody production, which is responsible for causing allergies. It can be helpful to eczema. [5] Quercetin can be found in various foods including:

 

  • Vegetables: onions, broccoli,
  • Peppers
  • Caper
  • Fruits: apples, grapes, berries
  • Herbs: dill
  • Tea
  • Wine

 

 

Are there any foods that my toddler should limit or avoid?

 

As discussed above, these foods are be avoided- white flour products, gluten, Nightshades, sweets and junk food, dairy products, high fat containing diet, red meat, pork, caffeine, shellfish,  salty foods. These can trigger eczema. [2]

 

 

How do you identify foods that will trigger eczema?

 

It is important to discuss with your pediatrician (pediatric allergist if possible) for evaluating and diagnosing food allergies and triggers. There are several types of tests that can be done:

 

Oral challenge test: During this test, your child will consume or be injected with a small amount of the suspected food allergen. Your child will be closely monitored for any allergic reactions. The appearance of an allergic reaction will be immediately treated by your doctor. [6]

 

Diet elimination test: This test involves eliminating all the suspected foods from your child’s diet. These foods are then returned back into your child’s diet one item at a time to see if there is  an allergic reaction. [6]

 

Skin prick test: In this test, your pediatrician will prick your child’s forearm or back with small doses of food allergens. An allergy is suspected if a rash appears at the area that was pricked [6]

 

Blood test: your child’s blood is tested for IgE antibody levels. IgE antibodies are increased in children with certain food and environmental allergies. [6]

 

 

Can food allergy cause eczema?

 

Children with food allergies are more likely to develop eczema. [7] Peanuts, tree nuts, cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, seafood, and shellfish are common food groups to cause allergies. [8] Some people with allergies to birch pollen may also have cross reactivity or allergies to foods such as green apple, carrot, hazelnut, celery, and pear. [9]

 

 

What are the differences between the skin symptoms of food allergy and eczema?

 

Skin rashes are common symptoms and appear similarly to the naked eye in both food allergies and eczema conditions. When looking deeper on a molecular level, however, children with eczema and food allergies are more prone to losing water, have increased Staphylococcus aureus bacterial growth, and have an immature skin barrier. This is in contrast with children who have eczema only (without food allergies). [10]

 

 

Can you control eczema by controlling food allergies?

 

Many people think that controlling food allergies means eliminating foods. The problem with eliminating food such as dairy, dairy products, or egg from your child’s diet is that it can cause nutritional deficiency. Therefore, incorporating in limited amount and frequency of these foods is a better option than complete removal of these foods from the diet. [11] There is also the thought that introducing foods that may exacerbate eczema will help build tolerance for these foods as children get older.

 

 

What is the connection between Eczema and Food?

 

Certain foods can cause eczema to worsen due to allergen-specific IgE production in the immune system. [12]

 

 

What fruits are good for eczema?

 

A paper from Malaysia studies what fruits may be tolerated by those with eczema.

  • Guava
  • Sugar cane juice
  • Coconut water
  • Mengkudu or Noni ( Morinda citrifolia) [13]

 

These fruits may also be tolerated as well:

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Berries [5]

 

 

Conclusion

 

I hope this article helps you know what foods to avoid with eczema in toddlers. There are so many variations to food allergies and triggers. Finding the triggers is half the battle. Always consult with your doctor before starting to find your child’s eczema and food allergy triggers. Unfortunately, there are many other eczema triggers, not just food. Read here to learn about other triggers and how to avoid them!