The correct balance of nutrients is vital for skin to repair and renew itself. A diet based on refined and processed foods can lead to nutritional shortfalls that also affect the immune system, hormonal balance and bowel function – all factors that may be reflected in skin health.
Foods containing additives and colourings, tea, coffee, fried foods, sugary foods and drinks, dairy products and animal fats can contribute to skin problems or make them worse.
Alcohol can also exacerbate itchy, flaky and inflamed skin conditions, and is best kept to a minimum.
The best approach is to eat fresh, unprocessed foods including fruit and vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds with plenty of fluid in the form of plain water, herbal teas, or diluted fruit juices. Aim to eat at least 5-7 portions of a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables daily plus around two litres of fluid.
Some cases of eczema may be linked to food allergy or intolerance and eliminating the offending foods can greatly improve the condition. Cow’s milk and wheat products are common triggers for skin problems, but other foods may be identified using food sensitivity testing as a guide.