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!
Choosing A Healthy Food
Boosting our immune system is important, particularly for both parents and children with eczema because the lack of sleep can lower our immunity. As recommended on DrSearsLean.com’s Nutrition Tips page, we should choose healthy food that contain the following eight immune system boosters, namely vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, zinc, garlic, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Out of these eight immunity boosters, parents may find that zinc and essential fatty acids are often recommended for children with eczema.
Get Healthy Eating Food, not Supplement
There’s some research that points to zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce skin rashes in adults and also that eczema children appear to be deficient in essential fatty acids which results in a lower production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins that can help fight skin infection. However, research is not conclusive as clinical trials have also been conducted with no significant impact on eczema. Parents should incorporate the immune system booster food into the child’s diet rather than in supplement as excessive intake of say, zinc can inhibit immune function. The RNI (reference nutrient intake) for zinc is 4mg per day for a six month-old and 5mg for a toddler. Zinc-rich foods include beans, chickpeas, beef, turkey and spinach while omega-3 rich foods are salmon, tuna and sardines.
To improve your child’s skin from the inside out, add these nutrients to his or her diet:
- Fruits and vegetables can help improve allergic and inflammatory diseases like eczema. If you have a picky eater who avoids fruits and veggies, you may consider giving them a whole food supplement to help boost their immune system. I personally have been taking a whole food supplement called Juice Plus for the past 15 years and it is the only whole food supplement I recommend to my patients. You can learn more about my view on whole food and omega-3 supplements at http://www.drsearslean.com/resources/healthy-tips/nutrition/supplements/
- An omega-3 supplement provides beneficial fats to help the skin stay healthy. Good sources of Omega-3s are avocados, salmon, tuna, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Probiotics taken in liquid, powder, or pill form can help decrease food allergies.
MarcieMom: Thank you Dr. Sears for being with us throughout the whole series. I’ve been so glad and delighted to hear your advice which definitely gives me the confidence to raise a healthy child, despite her eczema.