By Dr. Amy Duong (bio below)
To my eczema warriors!
Today I’d like to give you a list of foods and how to prepare them that would be beneficial to eat with the intention of nourishing and healing skin to prevent eczema in winter. I often hear from my patients that their eczema worsens in the winter months due to the dryness from the cold temperatures outside and from turning on the heat in inside. Skin dryness signifies that the skin is not being nourished with the proper nutrients and thus the skin barrier to the outside environment weakens and the skin is subject to more irritants, weather changes, and eczema from internal detoxification issues.
The food most beneficial for providing winter eczema relief differs from each person based on their specific food sensitivities and food allergies. This is best tested through food allergy/sensitivity test or an elimination diet, whereby the main food sensitivities are removed from the diet then added back one by one to see the effects of that specific food on eczema and other skin inflammation. Apart of the specifics of the diet for each person, there are foods and preparation of foods that are better eaten during winter months. Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and following the nature’s own cycles, it is better to eat seasonally. This would include more raw fruits and vegetables in the summer and more root vegetables and warming foods in the winter. I’ve made a list of foods that I recommend for eczema patients to help them prevent from developing a winter rash. Let’s get to it!
1. Stir-fry vegetables or Steam vegetables
Use some olive oil to stir-fry dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, carrots, onions, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. You can also steam vegetables such as spinach, kale, beets, and cauliflower. Making a stir-fry or steaming vegetables breaks down the cell walls of these vegetables and allows for easier digestion.
2. Roast vegetables
Another option for preparing vegetables is to roast them in the oven! You can try cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, beets, onions, and other squashes such as acorn squash and spaghetti squash. Roasting vegetables are a delicious way to keep warm and facilitate the digestion in the winter months. A good oil to roast your veggies with at higher temperatures would be coconut oil as long as there aren’t any food sensitivities to coconut. For a coconut free option, try avocado oil.
3. Warming soups
Making a big batch of soup is a great way to food prep on the weekends for example or use a crock pot or pressure cooker to do some hands-off cooking. I really love butternut squash soup, curries, vegetable soup, or warm beet soup in the wintertime. For the a broth full of minerals and gut healing nutrients, make your own broth.
4. Oatmeal and other gluten free grains
It is not advisable in Traditional Chinese Medicine to eat or drink cold or raw foods. I believe that this is especially true in the wintertime when you body feels colder in general. Instead of my morning green juices or green smoothies that I frequent in the spring and summer months, I make some gluten-free oatmeal in the morning and add some antioxidants with blueberries or other berries. Sweeten it with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Add in some sunflower butter for a delicious protein kick. Other gluten free grains I use include quinoa and brown rice, which pair great with the vegetables that were prepared as a stir fry, steamed, or roasted! Yum 🙂
A few tips on skincare for winter eczema relief:
- Do not shower in very hot water as it will really dry out your skin. After patting your skin dry, always apply a good natural eczema cream.
- Vitamin D3: It would be a good idea to have your physician or naturopath check your levels of Vitamin D3 to ensure that there is no deficiency and determine what a good therapeutic or maintenance dose would be for you. Vitamin D3 is typically lower in the winter as we are not out in the sun and absorbing Vitamin D3 in your skin.
- Add some yoga and stretching to your exercise routine in the wintertime. It is the time to build up your reserves for the coming spring and summer months. Maintaining flexibility and a good mind-body connection with yoga and meditation is great to ready yourself for the action and movement during the warmer months. And yoga is great for stress relief and we all know how stress can really aggravate eczema.
I hope you will keep these strategies in mind when preparing your food in the wintertime. Remember this is simply a guide and it would be advisable to see a local naturopath or reach out to me through my online consultations to get best treatment plan for your individual health concerns.
Do you struggle with eczema in winter? What helps you find winter eczema relief?
Bio: Dr. Amy Duong completed her Naturopathic Doctorate at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, where she also trained in Acupuncture. She offers general naturopathic care with a special focus on skin disorders including eczema, acne and psoriasis as well as anxiety, depression and digestive concerns. Currently, Dr. Duong is based in Connecticut where she sees many lovely patients of all ages with common skin conditions and other medical concerns in her naturopathic medical practice.
Please visit, www.naturalskindr.com to learn more about Dr. Amy Duong and her Skype/phone consultations to help you address your eczema or other medical condition.
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