These are my 10 best Eczema friendly foods that are known to be alkaline and low in amines, and salicylates which help with reducing chronic inflammation.
The list contains an example of enough foods you can use to develop a recipe or prepare basic meals. You can even swap the ingredients in your existing recipes with any one of them. Or use the recipe ideas I’ve provided if you haven’t tried it yet.
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Research and scientific studies regarding the healing benefits of certain foods and the role they play in various health conditions is an ongoing process. My advice is to use this list for basic, everyday cooking as a way of experimenting with adding foods for their healing benefits.
It’s also a way of changing things up to keep meals interesting.
Culinary nutrition for sensitive skin
As with anything, be mindful as you’re cooking and eating. When you see side effects, stop eating that food. If you know you are allergic to something, don’t consume it.
If you have existing health conditions, consult your physician or dietician before consuming certain foods or changing your diet.
I’ve used and am still cooking with Eczema friendly foods every day. I can see – from my skin – its anti-inflammatory properties. I can also tell by the way I feel every day that they are very alkalizing because the reduction in acidity has calmed my skin and it’s less itchy. Plus it’s been great for gut health.
Most of these foods are already well known for their specific nutritional content. So, read on and have fun swapping these into your existing recipes. See how you can incorporate them into meal prepping, especially for work and school lunches.
What is alkaline or alkalizing?
Alkaline refers to a state of reduced acidity (in the body) and ‘alkalising’ refers to where a substance can reduce or eradicate acidity. In scientific terms, it refers to having an alkali of more than 7.
What are amines and salicylates?
These are naturally occurring chemicals in plants.
Salicylates develop in the skin of fruits and vegetables and are part of the plant’s natural defense mechanism. It helps it defends itself against insects and fungi.
Amines develop when bacteria break down amino acids and normally happen when they become overripe, fermented, or start decomposing.
All fruits and vegetables contain an amount of these chemicals, so it’s good practice to wash, clean and purify your veggies by hand as best you can.
Natural vegetable cleaner / steriliser
You can soak veggies in a bowl filled with water and 1 tbsp of vinegar to clean and ‘sterilise’ it. It’s a great natural alternative if you don’t particularly like bottled vegetable cleaning agents.
10 Eczema friendly foods that are plant-based:
1. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that is a rich source of Carotenoids which are beneficial for reducing inflammation.
It also contains Flavonoid antioxidants that assist with protecting against free radical damage.
Red cabbage contains an array of Phytochemicals like Anthocyanins, Quercetin, and Kaempferol. They have anti-inflammatory properties meaning they suppress pro-inflammatory gene expression.
Quercetin in particular is a flavanol well-known for its anti-histamine effects. Histamine is the compound that inflames and aggravates eczema.
Red cabbage is also rich in antioxidants and other compounds that can help fight inflammation. It’s high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant, which helps protect against oxidative stress. It has been reported that a deficiency in Vitamin C can aggravate atopic dermatitis1 symptoms, something to keep in mind if you have this particular type of eczema2.
Use red cabbage in dishes such as soups, pasta sauce, and salads and raw as a taco topping.
- Taco slaw topping
- Cabbage pasta sauce
- Wraps (lettuce swap)
- Add to smoothies
- Sautéed red cabbage
- Pasta / pizza base sauce
In addition to their weight loss benefits, carrots are also a great source of antioxidants that helps reduce inflammation. So, they’re a popular option out of all the eczema friendly foods.
Try carrots raw in a coleslaw or carrots salad.
Have you tried carrot hummus? It’s a delicious condiment and a healthy snacking option. Carrot juice and carrot soup are also longstanding go-to recipes for skin health and weight loss eating.
- Carrot slaw
- Carrot hummus
- Carrot juice
- Carrot cake oatmeal
- Carrot + red lentil soup
- Mango + Carrot smoothie
Papaya contains carotenoids which are known to reduce symptoms of inflammation due to the powerful antioxidants found in it’s Vitamin C content. They are also low in salicylates but have a medium amount of amines, so exercise caution if you are allergic to it.
Pawpaw is part of the same family as Papaya, but it’s a rounder version with a more yellow exterior. Pawpaws are not as sweet as papaya though. Always buy them whole, and cut and prep them yourself to avoid bacteria growth.
Papaya is popular as a breakfast option. You can even pop chunks into a smoothie as it’s amazing for gut health. Its digestive enzyme (papain) populates healthy bacteria in the gut and kills bad bacteria in it, especially after illness or a course of antibiotics.
TIP Papaya is the best fruit to eat in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Berry + papaya sorbet
- Papaya + banana + turmeric smoothie bowl
- Coconut + papaya pudding
- Thai papaya salad
- Mango + papaya salsa
- Papaya popsicles
- Papaya seed dressing
- Papaya + coconut oats
Banana Peel is said to prevent inflammation in Psoriasis and Eczema because of the antioxidants in it’s Vitamin C content. Antioxidants prevent the damage of cells from free radicals.
The peel and pulp contain some amines, so if you’re allergic (not all eczema sufferers are), you may want to exclude them. While this sounds like contradictory nutritional advice, allergic reactions vary from person to person, so rather test to look for a reaction or omit it and then reintroduce it back into your diet (after 2 weeks).
There are many sweet and breakfast-type recipes for which you can use bananas, if you don’t like to eat them raw. My favourite is to eat it in breakfast pancakes using wholegrain or oat flour.
Better yet, try it in banana ‘nice’ cream, a lovely ice cream version containing no dairy milk or refined sugar.
- Banana Bread
- Banana skins + coconut curry
- Banana ‘nice’ cream
- Oat + banana pancakes
- Blueberry + banana muffins
5. White Potato
I always recommend eating peeled potatoes – even sweet potatoes.
The skins contain natural chemicals and fertilizer chemical residue that can cause allergic reactions.
I used to love crispy roasted skin on potatoes. Now I keep the risk of inflammation reduced as much as possible. By using recipes like garlic mash, dips, and potato cakes instead, peeled potato dishes can be made more tasty and interesting.
Potatoes are high in Vitamin C and contain Alpha-lipoic acid which is said to destroy free radicals and reduce inflammation.
It’s also a good source of Magnesium which is an excellent supplement to help with sleep and reduce anxiety. Rest and a reduction or absence of anxiety are crucial factors in helping to suppress itchiness and as a result the inflammatory effects of a flare-up.
- Mash potatoes
- Garlic roasted potatoes
- Curried potato salad with turmeric
- Carrot + potato hash browns
6. Butternut Squash
This is a great source of fat-soluble Beta carotene, the antioxidant that gives it that gorgeous, orange color. It has an anti-inflammatory effect which is essential for suppressing the effects of an Eczema flare-up. Carotenoids, which are derived from Beta carotene, prevent free radical damage in cells.
Butternut is very popular in soups, especially the creamy variety. Be sure to use a plant-based cream like cashew cream because the flavor is neutral. Remember, you don’t want to use anti-inflammatory ingredients and then add dairy cream – that will defeat the purpose. Roasted butternut as a side dish or in a cold salad is delectable, especially with toasted pumpkin seeds (heed any allergy to this seed also).
- Butternut + pear soup
- Butternut pancakes
- Butternut Risotto
- Stuffed butternut (V)
- Butternut lasagne
- Butternut + sage ravioli (GF)
- Baked butternut + leek
Of all the fruits, pears are the lowest in salicylates. Just like Cabbage they also contain Quercetin and Kaempferol, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Plus they have antifungal properties too.
Pears brown quickly once peeled, so they should be eaten immediately after prepping, or you can store them in water with a teaspoon of lemon juice. You can also boil them to retain their color.
Pears are lovely in patisserie. Make a pear tart with gluten-free crumble to reduce allergen ingredients. You can even make a sugar-free pear jam or pear butter. Keep in mind that eczema friendly foods like Ginger is a wonderful flavor pairing with pear.
- Pear + ginger cake (GF)
- Apple + Pear juice
- Pear butter
- Pear jam
- Baked Pears
- Pear crumble (granola)
- Baked pear oatmeal
Beets are also a great source of Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and boosts immunity. Antioxidants help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to other diseases in the body, not only skin.
Beets are rich in Magnesium. As mentioned before, this plays a slightly different role in reducing inflammation, but one that is crucial for Eczema maintenance. Magnesium plays a significant role in brain function. It not only helps with depression but can reduce anxiety which affects the experience of Eczema – it can be brought on by the extremity of a flare-up.
So, it can keep you calm and at ease thereby preventing a possible flare-up. The less you scratch, the more you’re able to sleep properly and vice versa, the more anxiety-free you are the less likely you will itch.
Make a beetroot juice and get the maximum benefits of its nutrients. Beet soup is equally nutritious and add it as an ingredient in a blushing red smoothie too. Have you tried beet chips? I love it as a healthy craving swop for salty potato chips – the store-bought, processed kind. Give this delicious and moreish snack recipe a try – if you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t worry, you can simply use your oven.
- Beet chips
- Beetroot soup
- Beet sourdough bread
- Apple + Beet juice
- Beetroot cupcakes (GF)
- Pickled beets
- Beetroot pasta sauce
- Beet Muhammara
This flavourful veggie is very alkalizing and this can help reduce excess acidity which is a symptom of Eczema. It also reduces inflammation because it has Vitamin K which contains Kaempferol that suppresses pro-inflammatory gene expression.
It is high in Vitamin C and carotenoids, which respectively help with immunity, combat cellular oxidation, and tissue repair.
Include this in as many recipes as you can because it’s beneficial for an eczema friendly food diet to remain as alkaline as possible. In other words, you don’t want to add any uneccessary acidity. It’s all about keeping the ‘system’ calm.
Leeks are great in any soup, for example, Leek and Potato soup – it’s so flavourful. You can add them to savory tarts and quiches as well.
- Potato + leek soup
- Leek tart (GF)
- Savoury leek sauce
- Potato + leek waffles
- Leek + mushroom pizza
- Leek + egg scramble
- Braised leek (side)
- Leek pesto
10. Spring onions (shallots, scallions)
These contain an antihistamine compound Quercetin, also found in Bell peppers. Spring onions are a very rich source of Vitamin K, which prevents collagen from degradation. Collagen is a protein that’s crucial in maintaining the structure and strength of skin.
Spring onions can be eaten raw or sautéed. Great added to soups and salads for a balance of flavor and nutritional benefit. It’s very popular in Asian dishes, so that should inspire you to get cooking with it!
- Spring onion soup
- Asian broth (soup)
- Potato + spring onion waffles
- Asian springrolls
- Cheese + spring onion quiche (GF)
- Spring onion + goat’s cheese tart
- Spring onion chutney
In terms of eczema friendly foods, choosing alkaline ones is a good place to start. There are many other types of foods, herbs, and spices that can be conducive to soothing skin and alleviating symptoms.
But, these plant foods are a safe alternative due to their low and mild level of amines and salicylates.
There are many recipe ideas to choose from and it can inspire you to swap out ingredients in existing recipes or be the start of some fun recipe research.
The best part is that these foods are relatively cheap to buy so it’s a good excuse to cook with them more frequently.
If you enjoyed this post, then you’ll find this one informative as well.
Would you like to see another blog post specifically discussing amines and salicylates?
Let me know in the comments section, I value your feedback.