Eczema and asthma are two of the most common chronic conditions among children in New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, around 20% of New Zealand children suffer from eczema, while the Ministry of Health reports that asthma affects around 10% of Kiwi children. While there is no cure for either condition, their symptoms can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. One such change is to avoid certain foods that can trigger eczema or asthma symptoms in children. In this blog post, we will discuss the foods to avoid giving your children with eczema and asthma in New Zealand.
Foods to Avoid for Children with Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. While it can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics and environmental triggers, diet can also play a role in triggering eczema symptoms in some children. Here are some foods to avoid or limit if your child has eczema:
Dairy Products: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are common triggers for eczema symptoms in children. This is because they contain casein and whey, which are two proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. I limit my daughters dairy intake but I haven't cut it out completely as I believe in the inclusion of trigger foods in small doses from an early age, gradually they will become less of an issue the more I expose her to them. Chocolate and ice cream cause big flare ups so I do try to avoid them but allow small amounts at birthday parties so she doesn't feel left out.
Eggs: Like dairy products, eggs are also a common trigger for eczema symptoms in children. The egg whites contain proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in some children. Not all children are affected by eggs so do a trial and error with food to see what causes the flare ups. My daughter can eat eggs with no noticeable change.
Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Some children with eczema may have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, which can trigger eczema symptoms. Please get a doctors diagnosis of a gluten insensitivity before cutting it out completely.
Nuts: Nuts such as peanuts and tree nuts can also trigger eczema symptoms in some children. This is because they contain proteins that can cause an allergic reaction.
Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can be acidic and cause irritation to the skin in some children with eczema. Kiwi fruits are a favourite of my daughters but unfortunately cause flare ups, interesting only the golden variety.
Foods to Avoid for Children with Asthma
Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. While there is no specific diet that can cure asthma, certain foods can trigger asthma symptoms in some children. Here are some foods to avoid or limit if your child has asthma:
Dairy Products: Dairy products can also trigger asthma symptoms in some children. This is because they can increase mucus production in the airways, making it more difficult to breathe.
Sulfites: Sulfites are a preservative commonly found in dried fruits, wine, and processed foods. They can trigger asthma symptoms in some children.
Salicylates: Salicylates are a natural chemical found in many fruits, vegetables, and spices. They can trigger asthma symptoms in some children.
MSG: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavour enhancer commonly found in Chinese food, processed meats, and snacks. It can trigger asthma symptoms in some children.
Histamine-rich Foods: Histamine is a chemical that is released during an allergic reaction. Some foods, such as fermented foods, aged cheeses, and cured meats, are high in histamine and can trigger asthma symptoms in some children.
While there is no cure for eczema or asthma, avoiding certain foods can help manage their symptoms in some children. If you suspect that your child's eczema or asthma is triggered by certain foods, consult with your child's doctor or a registered dietitian to develop a safe and healthy eating plan. By working together, you can help your child live a healthy and happy life despite their condition. I'm also a huge fan of keeping their skin moisturised, find a cream that works best for your child and get them into the habit of using it day and night.