Not All Fruits and Veggies Are Eczema-Friendly (The 4 Types)

Not all fruits and veggies are good the eczema body.

Not all fruits and veggies are good the eczema body.

“Eat more fruits and veggies because they are super healthy!”

“You need vitamins from fruits and fiber from veggies!”

As cliches go, it sounds like these plant foods are mandatory in our lives or else we will die, or at least, be in poor health.

However, speaking in the perspective of an eczema sufferer, not all fruits and vegetables are created equal – not all of them are eczema-friendly.

As an eczema sufferer, we need to avoid certain fruits and veggies.

In this article, I’ll list them out and explain why, even though plant foods are nutritious and beneficial in many ways, they are disadvantageous to eczema patients overall.

Just a Quick Note First…

This article is not designed to defame fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are indeed high in different types of nutritional values and are extremely good for the human body, but not every body responds the same way, so each individual needs to adapt to his/her body needs.

When I mean certain plants are NOT friendly to eczema sufferers, it’s just the consequences of eating them to an eczema body overrides the nutritional benefits of eating them.

In essence, we need to find out our body’s list of accepted foods and also, to avoid specifically to eczema-unfriendly plant foods.

#1. Nightshades

Nightshades is the family of foods: potatoes (but not sweet potatoes and I highly encourage you to eat them regularly), tomatoes, tobacco, red and green peppers, paprika, eggplants (these are the common ones).

Nightshades naturally contain a group of chemicals called alkaloids.

“Plants produce alkaloids as a regular part of their biochemical activity, and these alkaloids are primarily designed to help protect the plants from insects that would otherwise eat them.”

And these plant protective mechanisms when ingested just hinder our recovery. For a meaty explanation, read this article.

nightshadesSome of these foods may be a staple food in your diet, but you can always find substitutes. For nightshades, you can switch for:

  • Sweet potatoes (high vitamin A)
  • Yam (soluble fiber and good for skin)
  • Turnips, radish
  • Taro roots
  • Tapioca

Sarah, who runs Vegetalion, with nightshade allergies, wrote four great articles on finding alternatives:

  1. how to replace nightshades part 1: eggplant
  2. how to replace nightshades part 2: peppers
  3. how to replace nightshades part 3: potatoes
  4. how to replace nightshades part 4: tomatoes

#2. High Sugar Content Fruits and Veggies

dried_fruits-sierraA common problem today is that many people consume way too much sugar.

But assuming that you have no intake of any man-made snacks and drinks. It is still possible to consume a lot of sugar with natural foods.

Vegetables are not a problem, the highest sugar content of veggies are potatoes (which you don’t have to care), carrots and beets. But the sugar content of veggies is too low for you to need to reduce intake. So don’t worry too much about this.

The reason why sugar intake needs to be limited is because the more sugar you ingest, the more “food” you give to harmful micro-organisms to feed on in your gut. Yeasts, especially, live on sugar.

As for fruits, avoid these high sugary fruits: tangerines, oranges, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, mangoes, guavas, lychees, figs, bananas and especially dried fruit.

Instead, choose low sugar fruits: lemon, lime, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, papayas, watermelon and most others are okay. Just avoid the ones mentioned above.

For a more details, go check out “Fruits And Vegetable : List of Low and High Sugar Fruit and Vegetable.

#3. Pesticide-filled Plants (The Dirty Dozen) – Solution: Clean 15

The Dirty Dozen is the official term coined by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that refers to the annual top 12 plants contaminated most heavily by pesticides.

Dirty Dozen: top 12 most contaminated plants are:

  1. applesApples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot peppers
  7. Nectarines (imported)
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

New extras: Kale/collard greens and Summer squash.

Clean 15: the top 15 least likely to be contaminated are:

  1. asparagusAsparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Sweet corn
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Papayas
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet peas (frozen)
  15. Sweet potatoes

Check out the EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ for the official lists.

The reason why I’m telling you this is to warn you that when you consume one of the Dirty Dozen (you don’t have to completely avoid it), you should cook it long enough, soak it in water overnight, or even peel off the skin to eliminate the residue of pesticides, so you don’t end up suffering from the chemicals more than the nutrients you get from the food.

#4. Acidifying Foods

“Acidifying” refer to foods that leave an acidifying effect in the body after digestion, not its pH value upon tasting.

For a person with eczema, we should aim for a 80-20 balance where 80% of our food is alkalizing and 20% acidifying. Essentially, that means mainly veggies and less meats.

You should be aware that many fruits are actually acidifying. Fruits are great but shouldn’t be consumed in mass.

Common strongly acidifying foods include:

  • Corn (hence corn syrup, commonly used in commercial snacks as sugar)
  • Almost all meat products: fish, chicken, beef, lamb
  • White rice and flour products
  • Many seeds and nuts
  • High sugar content fruits (as mentioned above: oranges, nectarines, kiwis)
  • Pickled veggies

Instead, indulge yourself in strongly alkalizing foods:

  • Beetroots and beets
  • Bean sprouts (but not frozen pea products)
  • Homemade broth (the longer it’s cooked, the more nutritious)
  • Homemade vegetable juices
  • Almost all vegetables: kale, celery, barley grass, spinach
  • Apple cider vinegar (tastes sour but has a strong alkalizing effect in the body)

There are other categories: acidifying, alkalizing, strongly alkalizing; this is only a small list.

Read more on Acid-Alkaline Food Charts (also usable as a grocery shopping list).

Solution to Eczema-Unfriendly Fruits and Veggies (here are 10 suggestions)

You now know what NOT to eat, so what should you be eating?

Here are 10 choices that are highly specifically beneficial to improve skin conditions:

  1. Sweet potatoes (I usually eat several of these every day, it’s rich in vitamin A and are good low-GI carbs)

    Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods in the world. I eat several daily.

  2. Carrots (contains beta-carotene which is good for the skin)
  3. Beets and beetroot (rich in antioxidants which reduces inflammation)
  4. Purslane (has the most omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plants, which is a skin nutrient)
  5. Pumpkin seeds (rich in zinc, which is needed for skin cell production)
  6. Apples (high in antioxidants and vitamin C, both essential for good skin)
  7. Lemons and limes (lemons and limes have a strong alkalizing effect once inside our system)
  8. Papayas and pawpaws (rich in antioxidants and have papai – a chemical that for skin cell regulation)
  9. Bananas (rich in potassium – important for balance against sodium)
  10. Mangoes (has beta-carotene and protects against sun damage)

But there’s one type of plant foods that’s extremely HEALTHY for eczema sufferers…

Delicious & Healthy - Make it a daily staple food.

Delicious & Healthy – Make it a daily staple food.

Fermented foods.

Fruits are not normally fermented – veggies are the main target e.g. kimchi, pickled veggies, sauerkraut and more. Any plants can be fermented.

Fermented foods are extremely good for people with eczema because fermented foods contain live cultures – beneficial micro-organisms that help digestion and the removal of toxins in the gut, which is crucial for healing up eczema.

I’ve personally made my own kimchi before, and wrote a guide about it, added with other fermentation resources.

Check it out: How To Make Fermented Kimchi (For Fresh Gut Bacteria)

To Eczema Sufferers

In brevity, avoid the four evil categories as mentioned above:

  1. No nightshades: potatoes, pepper, tomatoes, eggplants.
  2. No high sugar content foods.
  3. No pesticide-filled foods. Watch out for The Dirty Dozen and prefer The Clean 15.
  4. No acidifying goods, or at least limit.

Again, if a particular fruit or vegetable gives you a sensitivity, you know what not to eat. This differs with everyone. For me, I have a sensitivity to papayas, green capsicums and kiwis (as far as I know) – the skin area my mouth turns red.


  • comment-avatar
    teresa 11/03/2014 (21:09)

    Hi, I’m a lifelong eczema sufferer (pretty much). I’m doing a big project on it, and came across this site.
    Your story is really interesting; I’d like to try changing my diet to cure my eczema – it does sound slightly daunting though, as I’m worried I won’t have the time to prepare & buy everything myself.

    Some questions:
    1) Is there a reason you don’t eat eggs? If you’re not allergic, would it be ok to eat them? And also are mushrooms (I think there was a picture in the slideshow with foods high in natural chemicals), seafood (eg. prawn, squid) and nuts alright as sources of protein?

    2) Also, have you heard of the Eczema Diet book? I haven’t read it but I also saw it while researching, and it’s by nutritionist who developed a diet to cure her daughter’s eczema too. Apparently it has had some good reports but I haven’t yet found someone who has said that it hasn’t worked (I haven’t searched that hard yet though)

    3) About your herbal remedies article, how do you get the herbs you use? (eg. I have Aloe vera plants but I don’t know how to use them correctly) Also, have you heard of Neem? (a multi-purpose tree used in Ayurvedic medicine) I have tried using it but stopped as I wasn’t sure whether I was reacted adversely, or it was just ‘detoxing’.

    4) I think I remember you saying that eczema sufferers shouldn’t eat fermented foods because of the yeast in it or something (in another article), so is it better to eat or avoid fermented stuff?

    5) Do you know anyone who has successfully completed or experienced results from your diet/lifestyle example? (Just want to know what else works, variations)

    I’m sorry to bombard you with so many questions!!

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 15/03/2014 (22:57)

      Hey Teresa,

      Don’t worry, I love to help! Well true, eczema recovery is definitely not easy!

      1) I do eat eggs, I’m fine with them. However, uncooked egg whites should be avoided (this includes certain cake icing materials). There was a study that concluded egg whites + fat led to eczema on people who never had them previously. Mushrooms are high in natural chemicals, but as far it’s concerned, consumption once in a while is alright (watch for allergies though, it’s common). Prawns, unless fresh, are often filled with preservatives. Squids are high in protein, however, protein has many forms, just as it can be found in nuts, there are different types of proteins. The more plant-ish, the less “complete” protein, the best sources would be from meat.

      2) Yes, I have. In fact, the book I’m writing, I use it as a reference too. Her method does work, in fact, just like many healthy eating diets. Her book is the best you can find right now on eczema (as far as I know).

      3) To be honest, I don’t have much time and the resources needed to go heavy with herbs (I live in China too). I’ve heard of Neem but never used it. I just use herbal creams already made that’s bought from stores. Aloe vera plants can be used in their “meat” by cutting the leaves in half and soothing the gel on to the skin.

      4) Fermented foods depend on the context. Beer is fermented but it is mainly involved with yeast. However, vegetables such as Kimchi (I always use that as an example because I love it) when fermented, produces beneficial live cultures that are not yeast. In essence, yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut – all these are fine but beer, alcohol, vegemite.. nah.

      5) I wouldn’t call my diet mine because it works similarly in many different “healthy-eating diets.” In fact, I’ve written about this: To give you an answer, yes, people are able to cure their eczema with this type of lifestyle. For example, the daugther of the author of the Eczema Diet Book. There are many variations, of course, when followed with persistence and patience, lead to the same result – recovery.

      Keep in touch,

      • comment-avatar
        zia :) 14/01/2015 (13:47)

        I was diagnosed with eczema last December 2014 and it just went back off and then on T_T
        I was not surprised when I was diagnosed with eczema bcoz my brother and my mother have it for like years already. I feel really bad about myself(my appearance) because my eczema is on my cheeks 🙁 I’ve been prescribed with tons of drugs to help relieve the itch, sting, and inflammation, but when I took it for a week, it will be gone in just 3 days then just when it was about to heal fully it came back and it worsen than it was from the time I got this.

        my brother and mother are in good condition now it’s been years also and they do not have eczema anymore.

        Thank You! Thank you! Mr. Harrison for the super informative and helpful tips specially for foods to take and not to eat ^_^ your article is one the most informative and detailed I have ever red! May God Bless you always!

        I Pray that this guide will help me and my journey to a healthy diet for my allergy triggers, flare-ups, and curing my dermatitis. In Jesus Mighty Name. I Pray. Amen.

        • comment-avatar
          Harrison Li 07/07/2015 (11:33)


          Thank you for your praise. I try my best to help because I know personally how it feels. I know it’s been a while that I was able to reply (due to exams), how is your progress now?


  • the Eczema diet part 2…. homemade soymilk | EAT it NOW or EAT it LATER 19/04/2014 (23:19)

    […] new foods, wait a couple days and then try something else. This site has very useful information   Another tip is to do some research on different types of foods/drinks you can make.  This was […]

  • comment-avatar
    kathleen chieffi 12/05/2014 (02:08)

    I found your website and am interested because my grandson is 18 months old and has had severe eczema since about 3 months old. he is on a relatively paleo diet, no dairy, no wheat, no soy, no eggs, no apples. some we figured via allergy test and some from observation. but an 18 m/o is both a picky eater and a person who needs nutrients. I am also curious as to the connection between allergies and the eczema breakouts. we have also tried wet wraps. his doctor has had him on oral steroids several times which works VERY WELL until of course it ends. any thoughts or ideas? TIA

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 12/05/2014 (15:06)

      Hey Kathleen,
      Glad to hear you ask. Babies are in a relatively dangerous period of time because some tend to have a slower growth of their immune system, and therefore reacting more firecely to foreign particles. Anyway, the paleo diet your grandson is in would definitely not pose a problem, but of course, it’s more helpful to know what he eats rather than what he doesn’t. Could you provide me a bit more on that?
      Keep in mind that allergy tests are never 100% accurate, and should only be supplementary uses.
      And please STOP using steroids, especially oral steroids. These are extremely high doses of drugs that ruin the growing immunohealth of your baby even more. Oral steroids are prescribed to those with severe eczema where creams don’t work. And if one continues to use it, the body will suffer in long-term damage.
      I understand we have picky eating habits, we all do, or at least once did. But this must be controlled, especially at a young age. There are always substitutes.

      As for cream and ointments for temporary relief, please never use drugs like cortiscosteroids; rather think of everything you use in natural terms. Common skin relief ointments are made of aloe vera, chickweed, shea butter and coconut oil. Also, calendula cream (there’s a brand called Calendilus I believe – effective herbal cream).

      Looking forward to hearing back from you.


    • comment-avatar
      Karina 14/08/2014 (02:48)

      Tia- I saw your comment and had to reply. I also have eczema and have had it since a baby. I have to second Harrison and insist you stop the steroids!! Please visit for more info but it could in fact be the steroids that are causing your child’s eczema to worsen.

  • comment-avatar
    Kim 22/06/2014 (22:35)

    I am an eczema patient for many years. I have switched to a more vegetarian diet, but still get eczema flare ups every now and then. Probably due to work stress, lack of sleep, etc.

    I jog twice a week, as a result of my jogging, my metabolism goes up, and the day after i jog, usually, I will feel hungry most of the time, as we can’t take more protein in our diet, I am at a loss of how to eat sufficient calories in a day. Most of the food snacks are usually bread stuff, or fried stuff.

    I am also algeric to eggs, what is your suggestion ? My BMI is boderline, 18.3, I am hoping to gain some weight if possible.

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 23/06/2014 (02:22)

      Hi Kim,

      Glad to hear from you. Switching to a vegetarian diet is a great first move, but it’s definitely not all. Especially you need to know the fact that not all things vegetarian will be good to an eczema body. And yes, there are three other main factors that affect eczema health: sleep, stress and exercise. All of which you seem to know about.

      Being hungry after exercise is normal but not the day after, which means you didn’t eat enough. And your BMI suggests your are overweight, and for an eczema patient who needs even more nutrition to allow healing, eating too little is a definitely problem.

      You mentioned you eat fried stuff and bread stuff for food snacks. Now, cut both fried foods of any type and gluten products of any type. This may be difficult but you will have to do so in order to rid your body of toxins, to allow recovery. You could have healthy snack substitutes like cucumber, celery, carrot sticks, sweet potatoes and some fruits.

      Being allergic to eggs, so avoid them! No matter how significant this is to your conventional diet, you must eliminate it and find a substitute.

      And yes, you’ll have to gain some weight!


  • comment-avatar
    Alana 12/08/2014 (03:45)

    You listed that you recommend yams and sweet potatoes. Yams and sweet potatoes are nightshades, high in alkaloids. You think I can keep them in my diet while excluding all other nightshades? I tend to eat yams and or sweet potatoes daily. I was thinking of cutting out nightshades. It will be very tough since I’m already gluten, dairy, soy, egg, oat and caffeine free.
    I don’t have any known allergies, but my still nursing daughter is allergic to everything. We’re using NAET acupuncture and supplementing with fish oil, turmeric, aloe juice and probiotics. Our family dog has been exclusively living outside for the last few months. If what I was already doing was helping, I’d think it was worthwhile. Since nothing helps, this is just ruining my life. I currently have buckwheat with raisins and coconut milk for breakfast every day, a yam or sweet potato for lunch, bison or chicken with potatoes and peppers for dinner most nights. I have rice crackers with almond butter for snacks. I eat all organic, free range, and steroid/hormone/antibiotic free. I weigh 110 pounds at 5’6″ so I can’t afford to lose more weight.

    thank you, I hope this diet helps

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 13/08/2014 (01:29)

      Hi Alana,

      It’s common to identify sweet potatoes and yams as nightshades but they actually do not belong to the same family and are considered safe if one was to engage in a nightshades-free diet. Both are great for their fiber and sweet potatoes have the extra bonus of vitamin A. Do not consume sweet potates daily – this will overdose your vitamin A levels that’ll backfire for skin conditions – every 200g of it is about 210% of daily vitamin A requirements. Rather consume it 2-3 times spread out in a week. Yams are fine for every day though.

      I understand your frustration, in fact, the restrictions you listed were a part of the highly restricted diet, which I followed for an entire summer. It does certainly cut out all of food choices. But it’s the only choice.

      I don’t have much experience with NAET but I heard it is controversial. Your supplements are great! For the dog, assuming someone was sensitive to animals – which would be their hair particles – it would float in the air anyway which means keeping it outside doesn’t necessarily wipe out the particles that can float indoors.

      Judging from your diet, it looks all promising except:
      1) Sweet potates only 2-3 times per week: remember not to overdose.
      2) Cut out the nightshades at night: potatoes, peppers.

      True eczema recovery takes months and will limit your social life a lot. But don’t worry, the more time you allow your internal imbalances to heal, gradually your eczema symptoms will go away . Meanwhile, you’ll experience periodic ups and downs. It’s normal.

      No worries. Let me know if there’s I can help you with.


    • comment-avatar
      Stephanie 17/08/2014 (08:56)

      Hi Alana,
      Wonder if you’ve thought to cut nuts? My daughter is allergic to quite a bit too but peanuts are the worst. I’m still nursing because of a lack of alternative…We’re currently egg and nut free and about to go dairy and nightshades free. Our dogs are a huge issue as well; we were away from them for a week and her excema was so much better. Uggggh

      • comment-avatar
        Gina 05/02/2015 (15:41)

        Stephanie, when you were away from your fur babies for a week, were you in a hotel? My eczema vanishes after second night in any hotel. The air is so clean from 24/7 constant ac and daily cleaning! I had suspected my dog too and foods but now I think it’s something in the air.

    • comment-avatar
      Jenn 04/02/2015 (12:12)

      You sound like you’re going through the same exact H*LL that I am 🙁 I’m currently eating ground turkey, avocados, brown rice, G/F oats, and almond milk. Yesterday I had an apple and my babies skin flared up with hard bumps and red skin on his scalp. He had been 100% clear and actually had baby skin again too! SIGH 🙁 Best wishes to you mama. I know it isn’t easy but you’re doing a wonderful job!!

  • comment-avatar
    Maciek 10/10/2014 (21:57)

    Hey Harrison,

    Did You get my e-mail ??

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 14/10/2014 (00:20)

      Hey Maciek,

      I’m sorry for the delay. I just emailed you back 🙂


      • comment-avatar
        Maciek 17/11/2014 (05:17)

        Hey Harrison!

        I hope I ddon’t bother you!
        But I would be really really grateful for you response for my second email.

        Take care,

        • comment-avatar
          Harrison Li 23/11/2014 (18:31)

          Hey Maciek,

          I’m really sorry for the delay, I just replied. Hope it helps 🙂


  • comment-avatar
    Chelsea 01/11/2014 (03:15)


    I have a diet question! (bare with me) I am 29 years old, in good shape/weight, and have not suffered from eczema MUCH in my life. I have had small amounts that have flared up (but never bad, just dry and itchy) on the back of my neck. I was diagnosed with asthma at a young age. I’ve always generally ignored the eczema because it’s never been irritating to the point of life impacting me. I’ve never reacted with anything external, except for dry/cold weather. My diet has never consisted of any glutens or wheat, and very low carb for many years. Alcohol has always been a vice of mine, so this is really the only thing I intake, and usually once a week or every 2 weeks and it’s never bothered my eczema. In the summer, the sunshine has always cleared it up nicely!

    Anyways, I’m just wondering if you could give me your opinion on if what I have sounds like an eczema flare up, and how my recovery might go given my encounter with eczema, aside from the above mentioned.

    I have always avoided glutens and breads/most conventional carbs as they gave me indigestion and gut problems, constipation, etc. Which is why I avoided them so carefully for many years! Well, 6 months ago I started eating organic, and to my surprise, I had a slice of bread one day and wow! My digestion was NOT affected; no bloating, no indigestion or constipation symptoms. SO I kept eating bread…it got to the point where I’d have 2 slices of organic sourdough every day nearly. Still, no gut reaction (no pun intended). I figured, well, I can eat more veggie chips, yams, dried fruit snacks, etc. This is great! I thought. Well, when my usual flare up season came around and cold dry weather set in where I live, my neck started to flare up in more areas than before….then my face…..then all over my arms! And well, you get the picture. It scared me. The only conclusion I drew from it was that it was all the yeast/gluten/carbs I had been intaking for all those months, as this is very unusual for me!

    It’s been a week now since I’ve eliminated all carbs, sugars, caffiene (not fun) and glutens, and I’m seeing some positive results! Not as much weeping, but still dry/red/itchy. BUT correct me if I’m wrong…it seems like the toxins from my gluten sensitivity manifested in my skin instead of my bowels! I am following a diet very similar to your site and I subscribed to your e-book (great by the way) I also enjoyed your personal recovery story. You are very strong! I feel like a wimp in comparison with only being a week in of uncomfortable symptoms. But with 6 months of a (less than) acceptable diet compared to years and years of a good diet, I feel like I might be okay soon…do you think the reaction to gluten and carbs? Am I on the right track?

    Thank you,

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 06/07/2015 (17:09)

      Hi Chelsea.

      As you might know, asthma is an autoimmune disease rooted from internal imbalance. Fancy as the term may sound, you always had the potential to develop eczema, given what you mentioned on asthma and digestive problems – as these are all signs of malfunctioning immune system. The entire time, your body manifested in the form of asthama (some manifest with eczema first, like me). Anyhow, from how you speak, I think you know most of the conception.

      To be honest, your question regarding gluten is challenging. I’m still on the quest to study more. As I have similar experiences as you have, sometimes as though the body seems to have “fixed” itself with a period of dieting, but then one day it will all come back out to strike you. I had that. But again through restrictive dieting, I went back to the norm. And this is where I believe, this norm that we think we are okay with our skin (since the eczema cleared away) – but actually, our internal imbalance and digestive problems still persist and we are okay simply because the immune system is strong enough to fight off the foreign gluten proteins. But after a period of consistence consumption, the body loses. Cycle repeats.

      I don’t buy the summer-clears-up-eczema argument. It is definitely secondary cuases. I mean, the sun has no correlation with our skin improvement. What improves however, e.g. less indoor times, more sweating (hence, detoxification), better circulation of air and foreign bodies/reactants.

      As for the connection with carbs, carbs is a general term. Some are great and some are bad. Think sweet potatoes vs. lots of bread. The key is to grab a good balance of nutrients. Simply isolating carbs away is not a good strategy for dieting. If you want to get deeper in the nutrition of carbs – check out the Low FODMAP diet.

      Hope this helps. 🙂


      P.S. Sorry for the late reply. I had exams and couldn’t squeeze time out. Please let me know if you have more questions!

  • comment-avatar
    Cassandra 27/11/2014 (01:56)

    At one point you say to stop eating sugary foods like Bananas.. then later you say eat Bananas for the potassium. Which is it?

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 06/07/2015 (17:59)

      Cassandra. Awesome spot. I have a future post regarding conflicting information and I’m very aware of this dilemma. Another one is kimchi (chili = nightshades) vs. the probiotics fermented kimchi provides. At the end, bananas or no bananas; kimchi or no kimchi. I’ve laid this point out in my dietary approach that these are personal choices to make, and should choose depending on:

      1) individual needs (nutrition wise),
      2) effectiveness of the pro over the negatives of the con (or the other way around) – which is higher?,
      3) individual goal e.g. are you aiming for the fastest recovery? or are you aiming to have a steady recovery with less restrictions?

      Because in either of these cases, excluding specific sensitivities, the person is still going to recover from eczema given that they follow the dietary approach. It’s a matter of the intentions of the person, and is something that can be chose. Unlike e.g. gluten, where it’s a complete ban.


      P.S. Sorry for the late reply. I couldn’t squeeze time out from exams. Please let me know if you have more questions!

  • comment-avatar
    Maciek 22/01/2015 (20:32)

    Hi Harrison!

    I hope you are fine in new year.
    I was wondering if you wrote me back?
    Because i didn’t get any reply, since 2 months.
    Hopefully you are not as busy as last time when you replied.


  • comment-avatar
    Lewis 09/02/2015 (01:49)

    Intreasting, I would like to add some food sensitivities don’t make sense at all- I cannot consume chocolate or the next day my eczema will flare ( it took a long time to figure out it was chocolate) even the 100% dark stuff doesn’t agree with me… Don’t rule out any food people!

    I still have a long way to go and will now introduce the idea of avoiding nightshades.


    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 07/07/2015 (12:29)


      Thank you for your tip. And best of all to your recovery.


  • comment-avatar
    Aziz 09/02/2015 (19:48)

    Hey Harrison,
    I started the diet four days ago, but today I’m starting to feel very dizzy and lack of energy, is that normal? And i am in a course of 4 weeks cortisone cream, should I stop using the cream immediately or should I finish my course and keep doing the diet? Only 5 days remaining for my cortisone course.
    One more thing, can you post some of your pics before healing from eczema?Thanks

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    Yoon 04/03/2015 (15:09)

    Hi there,
    I just recently came across your site and thought that maybe you could answer a question that I’ve yet to find an answer to!
    I know that the nightshade family can cause irritation for some people, but kim chi (which includes korean chili pepper) is supposed to be beneficial to heal the gut?
    I am a little confused. I am currently staying away from the nightshade family but LOVE kim chi and do not want to give it up, especially if it’s providing health benefits. I am hoping that it somehow disqualifies from the nightshade family due to fermentation (optimistic thinking).
    I am still getting flare ups and so now I’m not sure whether I should stay away from peppers/chili peppers/all kinds of peppers, except for when in kim chi, or whether i will have to give that up too?
    Any kind of input will be greatly appreciated!

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 07/07/2015 (14:31)

      Hi Yoon.

      Great spot. A couple of other readers have also asked, and I’m going to answer the same way. This type of dilemma between conflicting nutrients goes into a final conclusion of personal choice. Some foods like: kimchi (probiotics vs. nightshades), banana (potassium vs. sugar), garlic (prebiotics, antibacterial vs breath)…etc, are stuck in a gray area. How you decide to eat or not to eat depends on: 1) whether you have a specific sensitivity, 2) whether the effects of pro-inflammatory are greater than anti-inflammatory (in the sense that your body can tolerate).

      If giving up the food item is not a choice, you can consider reducing consumption, and/or increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods to balance it back down. This way, you won’t have to completely ban nightshades. However, what I want to suggest is kimchi and nightshades alone are usually not the main cause of your flareups. There should be some other key triggers. Think dairy, gluten and sugars.


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    Peneleapaí 12/05/2015 (06:17)


    Harrison, thank you for your great work on the dread E …

    I am in torture with it being COVERED …. since January this year with it (sob)

    triggered by some deaths in my family, and a highly STRESSFUL scenario with my mother, and her meeting my partner etc etc …

    Never thought it wouldn’t just get shaken off when i returned home (I was visiting Mother in NYC at the time with my partner, and went back home to Ireland 3 weeks later)

    5 months later..

    It’s a gas, everything on your 11 ways to stop the itch I already know about (ok,, except the “punch”)

    I had it when i was very very very young … (yes there’s a stress dynamic between Mother and meself)

    But after leaving home it disappeared.. WELL WAIT – every summer it disappeared, thus proving your point that being active (lotsa playing outside and dancing as the weather warmed) effected great results for eczema/psoriaasis/

    anyway, I’m no spring chicken anymore..

    And as i said, TOTALLY OUT OF THE BLUE this emergence of my childhood ailment.

    I’m a 100% RawFood consuming person, am holistic minded in EVERYTHING i do…

    But last year had requested a deep healing journey from the Universe and

    boy o boy !!! is this ever one!

    But yes i am desperate to shift it.

    Was going to look at Acupuncurists here … ????

    Thanks again for your great Energy and mighty Work Harrison!!!



    p.s. Apparently i began a fiery thread on Facebook when i innocently (and in a state of desperation) ask’d did anyone know anyting about Eczema or Psoriasis?
    Of the many responses is one i’m playing with again now.. and I’d like to pose to you too 🙂
    Urine Therapy? Applying urine to ?

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 07/07/2015 (16:01)

      Hi Peneleapai.

      Thanks for the praise. I try my best. And thanks for sharing your story. I feel sorry for the circumstances that you had to face. Hope everything is alright now. To be honest though, I lost track in some places where you wrote :P.

      And no, although I practise the natural approach, I don’t advise on certain techniques like acupuncture and urine therapy. If they work, I’d only see them for their placebo.


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    James 08/06/2015 (23:00)


    Thank you for all the information. You mention to avoid bananas as they are in the top sugary fruits but then later on recommend them as a fruit that is great for skin conditions and to balance the sodium. Could you confirm your thoughts on bananas as I currently eat them a lot for slow release energy when exercising

    Many thanks

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 07/07/2015 (17:11)

      Hi James,

      Great question. Several readers previously also addressed this dilemma. Bananas (potassium vs. sugary), kimchi (probiotics vs. nightshades), garlic (prebiotics vs. breath), fish (omega-3 vs. mercury)…etc. These are all examples of foods that belong to the grey area. In short, it’s a matter of personal choice. Whether you eat it or not, it is not going to massively affect your recovery process, excluding the case of specific sensitivities. The answer would be “it depends” on:

      1) Whether the pro-inflammatory effects are higher than the anti-inflammatory effects
      2) Your choice to the recovery e.g. are you aiming for a blend of taste (implying lighter restrictions) and steady recovery concurrently? Or are you aiming for the fastest recovery meaning a complete ban for maximum speed?


  • comment-avatar
    haniya 10/06/2015 (20:58)

    I suffered eczema for 1 year ..tell me what kind of food I eat in these days !

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 07/07/2015 (17:18)

      Haniya. I would need to know more details of your dietary habits to help make a specific plan for you. Harrison

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    nadia 28/06/2015 (21:37)

    Hi harrison. Your website is great! there are so many information about eczema. Anyway my bestfriend has eczema. I helped her and read every your post about eczema. Where can i download your ebook? did you launch book about eczema? if yes, where can i get it if i’m in indonesia. thanks 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 09/07/2015 (22:13)

      Hi Nadia.

      Thanks. Unfortunately, I’ve been really busy from exams and just got back on track on CES now. I’m going to refurnish my book draft, so it’d be a while until it is released. And when it is, I’d talk about it on a blog post / email.


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    Jasmin 06/07/2015 (21:35)

    Dammit, I HEALED my eczema flawlessly on a HIGH SUGAR lifestyle. Nothing bad. Sugar isn’t sugar. You tell me them candies are as bad as fruits? Nah.
    BTW I am a vegan, plant based, high carber(high carb=so .much. sugar.) Yum.
    Get rid of meat and dairy. That’s it.

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 09/07/2015 (22:41)

      Hi Jasmin.

      Out of the various comments I’ve seen yours is one of the more critical, and hence valuable, point of discussion. I would be lying if I told you I knew everything in the exact numbers and proportions. I too, had apples and pears when I was in the restrictive diet. Despite being high in sugar, I wanted their antioxidant and other nutritional benefits not found in others (there’s a opportunity cost). But for one, I never had candies.

      While I agree that you can consume fruits while still being able to avoid the effects of sugar consumption that may off-put eczema recovery, I disagree that sugar is the same. Correct me if I am wrong, it seems to me you would benefit from a more detailed understanding of sugar. Here is a brief intro:

      The natural approach I advocate, and use myself, is strongly based on healthy vegetables, and definitely little meat. And 0 dairy. However, one cannot simply say because vegetables have sugar, and sugar is bad, hence vegetables are bad/sugar is good. This is not only faulty logic, but nutritionally wrong because while sugar has an unhealthy reputation, sugar can mean lots of things from the high-fructose corn syrup in Coke to the glucose in broccoli.

      As I have explained in, any man-made dietary sets of rules may even be able to eliminate eczema given they fulfill the conditions required to not disturb the body of natural immune rebuilding from unhealthy trigger foods. Removing just meat and diary is key but not the entire equation. Other factors: sleep, stress, exercise. More importantly, the need to boost the body through selective nutrition e.g. omega-3, antibacterial compounds, gut-healing probiotics and prebiotics.

      Overall, thank you for your comment in allowing me to develop extensively on this topic.


  • comment-avatar
    Novi 08/07/2015 (23:09)

    Hai harrison,

    Did you get my email? Need your opinions regarding my baby eczema


    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 10/07/2015 (01:24)

      Hi Novi.

      I’ve emailed you back. But I’m not qualified to offer help regarding baby eczema. Sorry about this.


  • comment-avatar
    Aishwarya 05/08/2015 (15:45)

    Hi Harri,

    I am from India n have gone through ur fantatstic article.. i am suffering with eczema from last two years and was treated with allopathic treatments with cream and steroids tablets. reading ur article i have stopped all medicines… now i ll have a watch on my diet and looking for satisfactory results..
    i do pranayam(type of yoga) and morning walk for 30mins.but still facing strong itching problem.. however i ll contorl my diet and will stop non veg food..

    pl also let me know other articles on eczema.. i want to go through same..


    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 10/08/2015 (19:20)


      I’m glad that you have decided to embark on these changes from conventions, as they are not as easy to do. Regarding your exercise plan, I think it is great. Unfortunately, the itching will come because that’s the way eczema manifests in people. But the good news is, taking a nice fresh shower (cold and as short as possible), you will feel refreshing and for each time that means a step closer towards recovery than not no exercise at all. Keep it up!

      You are welcomed to sign up for free on my newsletter, as I also included some private articles for you. There’s a brief crash course on how to heal eczema if you ever get confused in the direction.

      Best regards,

  • comment-avatar
    Seth 05/06/2016 (17:56)

    So you list Apples at the top of the ‘dirty dozen’ list but yet you also list them as a food you recommend? I’m a little confused…

    I’m looking for a staple food while I ‘fast’… one that I can eat all I want of but still allowing my body to clean out… is there anything you can recommend? I WAS considering apples!

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 01/07/2016 (17:17)

      Seth, one great question you asked and thank you for pointing out this contradiction.

      The short answer: the significance-weighting for consuming apples for nutrition and as a fasting staple IS MUCH GREATER than the concern of apples’ pesticide contamination – so do not be overwhelmed of apples.

      The long answer: to see everything in the lens of pesticides and to avoid it would mean a diet of almost no fruits and vegetables. The harm caused from pesticides is negligible compared to apples’ great nutrition BUT that doesn’t meant you shouldn’t pay attention to decreasing the workload for your liver of processing pesticide residues i.e. eat apples but also take actions to lower toxic burden for your liver by:

      1) Soaking, scrubbing, washing your apples before eating them. This step seems trivial but it helps decrease chemical leftovers which are most dominant on the skin peel. If you peel of the skin entirely, that’d be absolutely better.
      2) Decrease liver workload as a whole e.g. eat fewer chemical products to lower salicylates intake, eat less high-histamine foods to detoxify less.

      Apples and pears are great choices as a fasting staple. But be aware fasting with fruit isn’t true fasting and shall only be done as a preparation stage to get your body used to it before you embark on a true water-fast in the future.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam le grand 15/08/2016 (06:34)

    Dear brothers and sisters,
    I kindly recommend from you as an eczema sufferer to cut the follows.
    Wheat , milk and dairy product, red meat, eggs, chocolates with milk, processed food.
    I highly recommend that you eat vegetables , fruits , turkey and chicken ( avoid the skin ) do not cut the tomato and co , in case there is no progress in your diet during 45 days cut the nightshades.
    However, do not forget to put apple ceader vinegar mixed with Wauter on the infected area and virgin honey ” not the one sold on the supermarket unless it’s bio product “mixed with Wauter as a mask on daily basis ( for 3 hours)
    I’m sure you ll see a huge progress as I ve seen if you follow this plan. Good luck

  • comment-avatar
    Celeste 05/02/2017 (05:21)

    it’s 2017. Are you still out there Harrison? Miss hearing from you 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Rita Chandler 27/02/2017 (01:55)

    Pineapple made me itch so bad! Apples was ok for me so I think it just depends on the person.

  • comment-avatar
    Yunita 01/06/2017 (05:23)

    Nice article, i am currently nursing 6 months baby with eczema.
    And i am currently trying to eliminate few food as recommended in Eczema Diet book, only been few days but i am very hopefull it would work.
    For the food we that need to avoid (esp wheat and dairy), are u suggesting us to forever eliminate it from our diet? Or should we reintroduce once the eczema clears up? And will it cause flare up again if we reintroduce? I am very concern my son may develop intolerant or allergies to these food he never been exposed to. I am hopeful he will outgrown his eczema but i also hope it is not with a bigger price to pay (life long allergies)..

    Thank you, Yunita

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 01/06/2017 (16:45)

      Hi Yunita. Your questions is great. It hits two key points:
      1) The elimination diet serves the purpose to let us know which foods not being reacted are suitable for gradual reintroduction in incremental amounts. So yes, reintroduction is possible and can overcome previous sensitivities.
      2) There are different stages of eczema elimination, which is useful for understanding what needs to be done at what time:

      For your son’s context, I understand you’re trying to lower his risks of eczema. Thus, you can let him try 1-2 new foods per 1-2 weeks to see if he gets used to it. The time can be longer too before you switch for new foods to test so you can get a better confirmation of possible sensitivity. Then, try new foods. Key is, don’t switch too fast in frequency, and don’t switch too hard in type of food. You can experiment with wheat and dairy later. No need to do it now just to be safe.


      P.S. Breastfeeding is proven to cause much stronger immune systems during infancy.

  • comment-avatar
    Joseph 10/06/2017 (02:59)

    Why does it say to avoid high sugar fruits in one part, and then a little further down it says to eat sweet fruits like banana and mango? For gosh sakes, it’s hard enough to sort out so many opinions without contradicting yourself like this in one article.

    • comment-avatar
      Harrison Li 28/07/2017 (10:25)

      Joseph, it’s contradicting yes. If we talk about sugar in itself. That’s much more than sugar in comparing mango and banana.

      Mangoes have lower salicylate and amine content than bananas = less chemical load = less potential triggering of your eczema symptoms. It’s that simple.

      Sugar-wise, depends on breed of the banana, how ripened it is (which releases the sweetness), etc.

      You see it’s not simple. And it’s indeed a challenge for me to explain the big picture every time. Thanks for pointing out I shall update accordingly.

      Update: For this, I have actually written about the contradictions on these things. Please see:

  • comment-avatar
    Lim Kian Peng 19/10/2017 (21:19)

    I had eczema 2 months now, I took 10 days of oral steroid last took in 10 Sep17, is my body cleared of the toxin, and I am a smoker , quit smoking is my aim now.

  • comment-avatar
    Toni 29/11/2017 (06:42)

    Hi, I know this post is old but I just wanted to add that if people are still having difficulty with their eczema after food elimination, they should also get tested for chemical allergies. This is different from food and environmental testing. I found out I was majorly allergic to simple items I used every day, like rubber (my rubber gloves were making me worse!), parabens (found in my gentle shampoos, cleansers designed for eczema, moisturizers), even synthetic blue dye (a color I wore every day!)! I now make my own soap and moisturizer and the improvement has been amazing. I still get breakouts but they are manageable and go away fast. Also, for those who remove allergies from their diets/systems, be prepared for your body to freak out for a while. My stomach and back were covered in rashes for about three weeks after I changed and I had no idea what was happening. All got better though for a while I thought I’d made things worse!
    Nice article by the way!