Dietary Factors That Aggravate Skin Disorders
To Be Avoided While in Treatment,
And to Be Eaten in Moderation When Skin Improves.
To Be Avoided During a Flare Up.*
These Need to Be Examined on a Case to Case Basis
Disease is Usually a Combination of Factors, too much of something (Stress from Work or Home or Self, Dietary Indiscretion), not enough of something else (deep relaxation) with Constitutional Weaknesses or Proclivities(Weak Digestion, Hot type Skin, Blood Vacuity)
Warm/Hot Energy Foods:
Very Hot (Severely Aggravating)
Hot (Aggravating, especially during treatment, or flare up)
Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Scallion. (shallots are ok).
Very Warm/Hot and Very Damp Producing
Hard Liquor, Wine, Roasted Nuts, Roasted Nut Butters,
Black and White Pepper, Paprika, other Peppers
Shrimp, Lobster, Crab, Eel
Damp Producing Foods
Warm and Damp Producing
Red Meat, Excessive Flesh Food Any Type,
Chicken and many fish are Hot.
Beef is warm/neutral
Lamb is very warm
Pork is cool, but very very damp producing.
Sugar and Sugars of All types regardless of other health benefits,
Sweet Coffee/Cocoa Drinks
Neutral/Cool and Very Damp Producing
Beer, Wheat, Flour, Pasta, Orange Juice, Cheese, Milk in excess or if your constitution is very damp
Neutral/Cool and Damp Producing if Eaten in Excess
Rather sweet fruits like grapes, figs, melons.
Spicy Dispersing Foods that Aggravate "Wind" and Dry the Blood
Chillis, cayenne, paprika, black and white pepper in excess,
Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, but NOT tea, which is cooling and not very dispersing.
Note: This is a pre-modern way of describing the way in
which certain "dispersing" foods (foods that strongly move the Qi) exacerbate hot skin conditions like Eczema and Psoraisis that involve inflammation. These foods are also avoided during
infections, like a bad cold with severe sore throat. (versus just a cold, in which case they are good).
The "blood" in Chinese medicine keeps the epidermis "cool."
Strongly dispersing foods move the warm qi of the body rapidly outwards from the center of the body to the skin.
This is very useful if you have cold invading the exterior of the body, such as when you stay out in the winter too long, or in the ocean when the water is cold.
But with Psoriasis, Eczema, Hives and Rosacea, there is already too much heat at the surface.
These foods are often also hot in nature, too, so they just add to the pathogenic heat and move it where you do not want it.
In Ayurveda, these herbs aggravate Vata. If they are hot, like chillies, they aggravate Vata and Pitta.
Vata problems include problems of dryness. We nourish Vata with healthful moistening. Rice cooked with prunes, allspice, and kale, for example.
Pitta problems include those of inflammation. We treat Pitta imbalance with healthful cooling. Cucumber salad. 4 oz. of watermelon on a hot day. Etc.
Yes Foods! To Eat. Very Brief List
Foods that Decongest and Dry Damp
Daikon, Millet, Barley, Job's Tears, Sea Veggies,
All dark green leafy veggies like Kale, Collards, Bok Choy
Beans and lentils
Foods that Healthily Moisten Dryness
Most Stone Fruits, Freshly Squeezed Non-citrus Fruit Juice especially Pear, Olive and Sesame Oil, Tahini, Almonds
Raw milk, in moderation, heated with cardamom,
Flesh foods in moderation, especially in easy to digest soups
Bone marrow soups, miso soup
Foods that Decongest and Clear Heat
Sea Veggies, summer squash, most fruits, cucumber,
All Green Veggies, Brassiferous and Cruciferous Vegetables,
Job's tears barley, Green and Black tea, without milk or cream
Freshly squeezed green vegetable juice like celery, parsley, kale, bok choy
Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac.