Eczema can make life a misery for both children and adults with red, dry, thick and scaly skin that is constantly itchy. For many people, eczema is triggered by an allergic reaction to specific foods, and avoiding these foods can ease symptoms. Chinese Diet Therapy is a holistic system of treatment, part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that views diet in a completely different way than our Western diets. Here I will give you my seven Chinese food secrets that will help your eczema and change your life.
1. Avoid cow’s milk
Eczema can often be triggered by cow’s milk, which is a common food for children. Cow’s milk is very moist in nature and if your child’s digestive system is compromised it can cause itchy skin, festering and oozing rashes and lesions. Milk is not a common ingredient in the Chinese diet and is used sparingly. However, in the West we tend to consume milk in excess, which is why more and more people experience an allergic reaction to it. If your baby suffers from eczema, then you should look for an alternative. Possible substitutes are soy or goat milk, which form less moisture.
2. Avoid foods that form moisture
Not only does cow’s milk form wet, but other foods can also form extreme moisture. Interestingly, some of these foods are common eczema triggers, like wheat and peanuts. Other moisture-forming foods include orange juice, bananas, sugar, cheese, and other dairy products.
3. Stop greasy food
Fried and greasy foods form extremely moist and are warm in nature. Eczema is Yang (warm) in nature, which means that if there is excess heat in the body, it will lead to symptoms such as redness, inflammation, and thirst. Cooking methods such as broiling, broiling, baking, frying, sautéing and sautéing are all yang cooking methods. It is preferable to boil, simmer, stew, braise or steam food as these cooking methods are more yin in nature. Foods cooked this way are naturally fresher and more nutritious for the body and skin.
4. Eat more refreshing and nutritious foods
To treat eczema, you must reduce the redness, inflammation, and itchiness of the skin by removing heat. You should also moisten the dryness and strengthen the qi (vital energy) and blood. Foods to cool and moisten include grapefruit, lettuce, seaweed, watermelon, cucumber, celery, barley, tofu (tofu), pears, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Excellent foods for strengthening qi and blood are dark green leafy vegetables, dark red fruits and vegetables such as beets, kidney, aduki beans, and blueberries. Meats like liver, kidneys and chicken are all qi and blood fortifiers. A great start to the day would be to have a bowl of oatmeal porridge sprinkled with some dates.
5. Avoid raw and frozen foods
Too much raw and refrigerated foods (as opposed to cold foods) can damage the digestive system. The digestive system requires heat or digestive fire to function and prolonged and excessive use of raw or frozen foods will eventually weaken this digestive fire. You may have noticed that the Chinese don’t eat a lot of raw or frozen foods for this reason.
6. Balance your flavors
We have often heard that too much is bad for you and this is true of the Chinese diet. In most Chinese recipes you will find a balance of flavors: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and spicy. For example, salty foods (seaweed, pork, fish) regulate the moisture balance, drain excess moisture, and stimulate digestion. However, too much salt will dehydrate the body and lead to dryness. Sweet foods (sugar, bananas, milk), slightly stimulate the circulation of qi and blood, moistening and benefiting dryness. However, eating an excess of sweet foods will lead to the formation of moisture and heat that can cause eczema. Therefore, a balanced diet that includes all flavors is beneficial. You can increase or decrease a particular flavor according to your needs.
7. Chew slowly and enjoy your food.
Most often, eczema is caused by emotional stress. When we are stressed, we tend to overeat, eat little or not enjoy what we eat. Do not eat when you are angry because this affects the movement of qi and can cause you to stagnate. Qi stagnation over time can lead to a build-up of heat that can manifest as rashes and inflammation.
The Chinese know the benefit of chewing slowly and with concentration, so forget about TV or reading while eating, just focus on your food. Each bite should be chewed well, as this helps our digestive system work more efficiently.