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)

Chili Peppers, Cayenne Powder, Deep Fried Foods of Any Type

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,

Peanut Butter


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.

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