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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Could my eczema flare-up be diet related?

I know that I am allergic to some nuts and seeds but recently I have been having severe allergic reactions to other things. Unfortunately even though I record everything I eat in my food diary, I am unable to determine what might be causing it! I get wheezy, itchy hives and my eczema gets really angry.

I don't mind too much about the first two symptoms as I can control them with anti histamines but my eczema is out of control!! Might I be allergic/intolerant to something I am eating as I avoid anything I know to be a cause of reaction i.e. nuts, wool, perfumed/coloured things etc I eat a lot of fruit, dairy, wholemeal bread and lean meats and fish.

My diet has been a wee bit higher in sugar and I have consumed slightly more alcohol than normal the passed few weeks but in all other ways is the same. This happens to me about 3-4 times a year and It really is starting to get me down as I feel ugly and its not comfortable to be itchy all day. I hate not being able to wear make up and costume jewellery.

A.

Our expert says...

Hi there,

Unfortunately, in cases like yours, it can be very difficult to pin point the cause of symptom flare ups when they occur. It could be something that you are eating that you only have a reaction to in combination with something else. This could be anything from stress to the weather. By this I mean that your body may only just be tolerating a certain food (and you do appear to have a number of intolerances) and a secondary factor adds additional stress to the body, which then produces your symptoms. I would continue to make a note of factors - other than food - in the diary notes section of your food diary and see if you can see any links to your symptoms.

Your basic diet sounds good. If you feel you have been eating a little more sugar and alcohol (which is liquid sugar!) recently, cut right back and see if that helps. I would also try reducing, or even temporarily removing, dairy products from your diet, as this food group has been strongly linked with eczema in the past. Also, make sure you eat 1-2 portions of oily fish a week, if you can, as these contain calming, anti-inflammatory oils that may help your skin. Oily fish include salmon, sardines, fresh tuna (not tinned) and mackerel.

The quickest way to find out about any additional food intolerances you may have is to have a test. This can be quite expensive, but, if you can afford it, I recommend a company called www.yorktest.com. There are other companies too that you will easily find on the internet. This type of test is very accurate and uses a pinprick of blood. It might be worth considering.

I really sympathise with how this must make you feel, so I hope there is something that helps you in this answer.

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