This is a fortnightly series focused on raising healthy children, following the advice on DrSearsLean.com. Marcie Mom came across Dr Sears’ Lifestyle-Exercise-Attitude-Nutrition approach for healthy families and found it to be practical and fun to follow. However, parents of eczema children may have reservation on certain healthy tips such as bringing their child for swimming (‘Lifestyle’) or eating fruits and vegetables (‘Nutrition’). This series examine if there’s truly a need to restrict eczema children from following the LEAN tips and take note of DrSearsLEAN’s recommendation at the end of each post!
So what food to eat?
GREEN Light foods are “Go” foods. They are all high in nutrients and are all fruits & vegetables.
Yellow Light foods are “Slowdown” foods. These are foods that are ok to eat every day, but you need to use portion control. Examples of yellow light foods include whole grain bread, pasta, eggs, lean meat, fish, and olive oil.
Red Light foods are “Stop and Think!” about making a better choice. These are foods that are highly processed and contain high amounts of sugar and trans-fat. Red Light foods are foods such as cookies, candies, fast food, doughnuts, etc.
What are the common food allergens?
Food is not a common eczema trigger, but certain foods that children are more commonly allergic to include cow’s milk, eggs, soya, wheat, fish, nuts and gluten (this is different from celiac disease, read more here). Cow’s milk should not be excluded unless it’s proven intolerant or to trigger a reaction. Salicylates, usually present in concentrated juice/sauce, unripe fruits and areas around the skin, can also trigger itchiness and redness. Salicylates increase the release of histamine but cooking the food can reduce the chance of allergy.
Should Elimination or Restricted Diets be carried out?
Food should not be excluded until proven allergic to. A dietician should always be consulted and advice followed. Parents need to be educated in nutrition and be able to read food labels. A restricted diet, usually consisting of meat, vegetables, fruits, water and rice milk, should not be continued if there is no improvement after 6 weeks. There are cases when food removed from a diet added back later in childhood causes a more severe allergic reaction than before.
As mentioned last week, there are six common foods (milk, egg, soy, peanuts, fish and wheat) that make up nearly 90% of possible allergic foods. Eliminate all 6 foods for 2 to 3 weeks. If you see dramatic improvement, then re-introduce each food one at a time to determine which is causing the allergy. It is important to note that fruits and vegetables are not common allergens and are very important in boosting your child’s immune system and the phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain are powerful anti-inflammatories. Try incorporating fruits and vegetables into every meal – even breakfast!
If you are looking for an easy way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your child’s diet, a whole food supplement may be the answer. Dr. Sears recommends a product called Juice Plus. It is a whole food supplement that contains 17 fruits and veggies in a capsule or gummy. Click here for more information.
MarcieMom: Thank you Dr. Sears for your recommendation. Next interview, we’ll explore your Exercise Tips and I’m already looking forward to it!