BODYTRUTH BLOG eczema series

Is Acid The Cause of Your Eczema?

Where does excess acidity come from?

We’ve been told that the the typical American diet is nutritionally poor. Well it is. That’s because the Western diet is exceptionally high in acid forming foods (meat, grains, dairy, sugar & processed foods). These are also the food groups that are highly subject to hormone treatments, antibiotics and genetic modification as well as synthetic chemicals. Just read the packaging and you’ll see snippets of controversy.

When nutritionists talk about acid- or alkaline-forming foods, they are referring to the effects of the food once ingested and metabolized by the body. You may not know what that means but in a nutshell, the food we consume is what creates an acidic or alkaline body.

High Protein Intake = Increased Acid

Most proteins contain sulphur, as well as phosphorus, within their chemical structures. When metabolized, these substances are broken down into phosphoric acid and sulphuric acid, which must then be neutralized through various chemical reactions in the body. Another by-product of protein metabolism is uric acid. Uric acid has been found to have a major influence on the development of arthritis; in particular, gout.

Because of these toxic by-products of protein metabolism (phosphoric, sulphuric and uric acids), protein rich foods, and especially animal products, are acid-forming. Most grains and dairy products, also high in protein, are also acid-forming.

The Connection

First off, virtually all diseases including dermatitis, allergies, cancer, candida, heart disease, bowel diseases, arthritis (inflammation), osteoporosis, kidney stones, gall stones, and tooth decay are associated with excess acidity in the body. All forms of inflammation are also associated with excess acidity, including inflammation of the skin and joints.

Did you know that disease cannot exist in an alkaline environment?  

What It Means For Your Health

Since we are constantly supplying acids and alkalis to our bodies through the various foods we eat, it is very important that we consider the balance between these two extremes.

If we consume excessive amounts of acid-forming foods, such as animal and dairy products, the body must dip into its alkaline reserves to maintain the proper pH (alkalinity). The kidneys, lungs and entire physiology is overworked in the process of neutralizing the acids from the body. This strain eventually leads to a depletion of buffer salts and the breakdown in the functions of various organs, including the kidneys.

Any food, drug or beverage that is extremely acidic in nature causes the body to utilize alkaline reserves and this process overworks the various organs. Over a period of time, the body eventually is no longer capable of handling this overload and will slowly begin to break down or malfunction. Various organ malfunctions are referred to as “disease,” while the root cause is “too much acid in the body” (acidosis).

How does this tie into eczema / dermatitis?

The short answer is this, you are dealing with inflammation that likely stems from acidosis or a by-product of. The skin is too a major organ, the largest at that, capable of stress like any other organ. Reducing the acid formation in the body; consuming more alkaline foods; and nurturing the gut all go a long way to reducing the potentiality for outbreaks at the skin level.

What you should do…

The short answer, barring any medications and food allergies that are contradictory, is this: focus on consuming more fresh or freshly prepared (not canned) vegetables and fruits, while reducing the ratio of meats, grains (wheat, corn, oats, white rice), dairy, sugars and other soft drinks.

Add into your diet fresh pressed vegetable juices, salads and plenty of water daily.

Many alternative health experts recommend a diet comprised of more alkaline than acid foods. In the book, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, author Elson Haas, M.D. recommends a diet consisting of 70 – 80 % alkaline foods in spring and summer and 65 to 70% in winter months. If you can do it, great. I feel however, attempting to apply a ratio as such to my diet, as accurate as it may be, just over complicates things. That’s why diets don’t work well for people. If it’s too much work, it’s easily abandoned.

The predominant American diet is that of convenience foods primarily. Our busy schedules have somewhat deprived us of time for food preparation and consumption which is why preparation is so necessary. Consuming a greener diet is the way to go and I can tell you as a single mom of two sons with hearty appetites, it can certainly be done.

What I can tell you that has worked in the space of actual application is this:

  1. PLAN: your meals so that ingredients overlap to save time. If you roast a couple of chickens or buy them already roasted chicken (ok), you can use it for lunch and/or dinner for a couple of days while still pulling off a nutritious meal.  
  2. SHOP: the outer perimeter of the market. It’s where all the fresh foods are located. Buy what you need for the week and get on on to step 3.
  3. PREP: I’ve learned in my experience to prep, prep, prep, especially when my children were young. Wash it, peel it, cut it, chop it and pack it for the next step. This is super helpful if you’re adding salads, stir-frys, frittatas or raw juices to your regular rotation.I’ll admit, I dedicate a good portion of time to kitchen prep because I decided when my sons were young, to make wellness a priority. Twelve years later, we’re still going strong! The point is to create a system that does work! Don’t give up easily, it takes time to get into the rhythm of a lifestyle change. It’s worth it. You’re worth it!

The following chart provides a list of alkaline and acid forming foods that can help you decide how to plan your meals. It is NOT all inclusive but you can use it as a guide. I do hope you find it useful.


Stay tuned for follow up posts on this topic.

 



Disclaimer: The content provided by G.H. Soaps and Willis & Co LLC, and any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice and have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you or any other person has a medical concern, it is advised that he or she consult with an appropriately-licensed physician. Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women are advised to consult with a physician before using products containing natural herbs, essential oils or any other ingredients found in and used by Willis & Co LLC (G.H. SOAPS).

 

Why Your Skin Is Inflamed & How To Combat It

Why Skin Inflammation Can Be Serious & How To Combat It

Inflammation

Firstly, inflammation is both a signal and a process indicating the body is under stress and is attempting to heal. As a self-maintaining system our bodies are always seeking self-preservation. It inherently seeks to remove harmful, foreign and toxic material like damaged cells, irritants, chemicals and bacteria and thus begin the healing process. 

Short-term inflammation is good for us. It actually helps us heal. The problem is that a lot of us are under constant stress and are thus walking around with chronic inflammation. This is inflammation inside the body that doesn’t actually go away, but exists at a low somewhat tolerant level, gradually causing damage. The bigger issue becomes the failure to address or discover the underlying causes.

Inflamed Skin

Inflammation of the skin is highly likely the effect of internal stress. Where you have an effect or symptom, there is most certainly an underlying cause. Thus the signs and symptoms of skin related inflammation, as listed below, are indicative of an underlying issue. 

  • Acne (inflammation)
  • Redness
  • Rashes (inflammation)
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sagging and bagging
  • Irritation, itching
  • Rosacea (inflammation)
  • Eczema (inflammation)
  • Dermatitis (inflammation)
  • Psoriasis (inflammation)

Causes of Skin Inflamation

What causes long-term inflammation?

Underlying health issues that are chronic in nature, candida, digestive issues and such conditions are often root causes of the various health issues that become chronic and affect other areas of the body. Inflammation is certainly a symptom.

Intestinal parasites, a topic many avoid but these little guys have the ability to take over your body (host) and wreck havoc on your system. They affect the entire set of systems, organs included. Parasites feed on the host and release toxins that lead to many health challenges and is often a precursor for candidiasis (which is a precursor for other diseases, including cancer). This too causes inflammation, such as eczema, chronic dry heels, chronic dry, brittle hair & nails and stiff, painful joints.

Chronic environmental conditions, toxins, pollution and lack of sleep contribute to inflammation. Studies have even found that poor sleep quality was associated with higher levels of inflammation and weight gain. Chronic conditions also adversely impact the body’s ability to heal itself.

Diseases or disorders like asthma, arthritis, gum disease, ulcers, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases, and many more.

Stress causes the body to release cortisol, which over the long-term, can cause chronic inflammation.

Diet, scientific studies have shown that fatty foods, fried foods, refined sugar, and refined carbohydrates can all increase levels of internal inflammation. All of these issues can seem to be isolated, yet they are intertwined. The body has many systems but they all work together in synergy. A disruption in one can cause a disruption in all; and any one of the issues in the list aforementioned, can lead to internal inflammation—which of course, affects the skin! Skin challenges are more than skin deep!

Reducing Skin Inflammation

Combating Skin Inflammation With Food

You can begin to change the condition by changing what you eat! Not only can diet changes help counteract the ‘effects’ of stress, lack of sleep, and exposure to pollutants, but they’ll help provide your skin with the nutrients it needs to begin to repair itself.  Here are 8 foods that you can start adding to your diet today!

  1. Tart cherries: In a 2012 study, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University stated that tart cherries had the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. It is often recommended by doctors for arthritis and gout (inflammation) as well. I like to buy tart, unsweetened dried cherries and eat them right out of the bag. I also add frozen dark cherries to vanilla yogurt (pre/probiotic) for a quick snack.
  2. Turmeric: This super spice is currently being studied for a number of wonderful things, including its potential anti-cancer activity. A key ingredient in curry, it contains a compound called “curcumin” that has been found to act as an anti-inflammatory in humans. A 2003 study review, for instance, found that curcumin inhibited a number of different molecules that play a role in inflammation. It may seem like an unusual root but turmeric is quite delicious. I juice them along with carrots and celery for a daily power drink! I also use fresh pressed carrot and turmeric juice in one of our seasonal handmade soaps. Turmeric is also a key ingredient in a very tasty Ayurvedic tea called Golden Milk. I make mine with vanilla flax milk for extra omega 3 benefits!
  3. Olive & Hemp seed Oil: These oils, like many natural oils, are rich in essential fatty acids, which help hydrate and fortify skin. (One of the reasons we use so many natural oils in our products!) A 2010 study found that the oil has a balanced combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help reduce overall inflammation.
  4. Walnuts: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts have been found in human studies to help lower the level of inflammation in the body. In the study, participants consumed an ounce of walnuts and a tablespoon of walnut oil a day for about six weeks. Results showed that their inflammation levels declined significantly. I eat walnuts right from the bag but they are great crushed and added to a protein shake (in the blender of course), or added to bowl of steel cut oats with diced banana and a drizzle of maple!
  5. Wild Caught Salmon: According to Dr. Mercola, the best type of omega-3 fats are those found in fish. That’s because the omega-3 in fish is high in two fatty acids that are vital to our health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. Salmon, in particular, possesses one of the highest omega-3 contents.Omega-3 fatty acids have many critical biological functions because they are a primary element of health for virtually every cell and organ system in the body. In proper proportions with omega-6 fatty acids, they keep our bodies in balance, managing and reducing inflammation (joints and skin), blood pressure, and improving immune response, among other important functions. Since omega-3-rich salmon is a natural anti-inflammatory food, eating this delicious fish on a regular basis is a great way to keep your skin radiant. I personally trust and recommend none other than Vital Choice for high quality salmon and salmon oil.
  6. Probiotic Supplements & Fermented Foods: You can add kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha tea to this category, as they all contain healthy probiotics—those oh so hard working organisms that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Studies have shown that not only do they improve digestion, they lower inflammation. A 2009 study, for example, reported that probiotics could actually reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis. A later 2011 study reported that participants who had inflammatory conditions like psoriasis had lower levels of inflammation after eight weeks of taking probiotics. Consult your doctor for recommendations on which form to take, how much and for how long.
  7. Cruciferous Veggies: Not only are they full of protective antioxidants, but they are excellent at reducing inflammation. A 2010 study, for example, found that eating broccoli for only 10 days cut inflammation by nearly half! Other cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower, cabbage & brussel sprouts have similar anti-inflammatory effects. Cruciferous veggies may seem boring (I thought so too), but a quick saute in a pan with olive oil and freshly grated garlic really transforms cruciferous veggies. A bit of tomato adds nice balance.
  8. Onions & Garlic: You can add chives, shallots, and leeks to this category as they all were found to help reduce inflammation in a 2011 study. A 2012 study found that fresh onion juice inhibited pain and inflammation, helping to reduce swelling in wounds. Subsequently, a 2014 study reported that garlic may act as both as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Garlic is also highly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and more likely to attack the root cause of inflammation because it has a direct impact on intestinal yeast. Garlic is most effective when ingested raw. These powerful herbs are easy to incorporate into meals, whether paleo or vegan, garlic and onions have their rightful place at the table with any meal.

This article doesn’t get deep into the inflammation causing issues highlighted in the list above, because it would take many articles to examine this topic. However, this does bring the awareness to you for further research, so consider it food for thought. The good thing is that the research has been done and is easy to locate, it just takes time to assimilate, especially when you’ve been accustomed to doing things a certain way your entire life. Most people need time to research, meditate on their own health challenges and experiment with making small changes over time.

Do keep in mind that if you have gut issues like IBS or leaky gut, the underlying causes listed above are absolutely worth researching and discussing with a doctor; however, the list of 7 foods may actually be intolerable for your gut, a conversation for another article.

Since most of my community (including customers) deal with eczema and other skin issues, I spend a lot of time researching medical journals and alternative medicine, combining that knowledge with what I have already gained as an herbalist.

If I had to offer a few take-aways to get you started in your research concerning skin inflammation and underlying chronic conditions. I would begin with:

  1. candida & candidiasis
  2. intestinal yeast
  3. parasites
  4. gut (intestinal) health
  5. gmo foods, pesticides and glyphosate

Comments: Share in the discussion by posting questions or comments that can be of value to the community at large. The more we share, the more we learn. The more we learn, the many we can help!

Be well!


Sources:

Aggarwal, B. B., Yuan, W., Li, S. and Gupta, S. C. (2013), Curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 57: 1529–1542. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201200838

“ALA-rich walnuts reduce inflammation, shows small study,” Nutraingredients.com, November 9, 2004, http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/ALA-rich-walnuts-reduce-inflammation-shows-small-study.

Beauchamp, G.K., Keast, R.S.J., Morel, D., Lin, J.,Pika, J., Han, Q., Lee, C-H, Smith, A.B. III, Breslin, P.A.S.Ibuprofen-like activity in extra-virgin olive oil. Nature, 2005, 437,45-6.

Chainani-Wu N., “Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa),” J Altern Complement Med., February 2003; 9(1):161-8, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12676044.

Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva and Grant N. Pierce, “The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed,” Nutrition & Metabolism, 2010; 7(32): 10.1186/1743-7075-7-32, http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/32.

IBS Treatment Center | https://ibstreatmentcenter.com/ibs/intestinal-bacteria-yeast-candida-and-parasites

Lomax AR, Calder PC, “Probiotics, immune function, infection and inflammation: a review of the evidence from studies conducted in humans,” Curr Pharm Des, 2009; 15(13):1428-518, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19442167.

Monell Chemical Senses Center. “Olive Oil Contains Natural Anti-inflammatory Agent.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2005.

Rachael Rettner, “Probiotics May Lower Inflammation and Treat Diseases,” LiveScience, October 31, 2011, http://www.livescience.com/35945-probiotics-good-bacteria-inflammation.html.

G.H. Soaps - recommends hibiscus tea

Drink Your Way To Radiant Skin With Herbal Tea

G.H. Soaps and BODYTRUTH brand discusses herbal tea for glowing skin

Herbal tea seems to have taken a back set in our coffee crazed society, but for those seeking to make healthy mind, body changes, tea is a staple. Herbal teas are often naturally decaffeinated, with the exception of some like black and green. Decaffeinated herbal tea blends are made from dried flowers, leaves and roots of anti-oxidant rich, medicinal plants. Beneficial herbal tea blends are often detoxifying and immune boosting which also tends to boost and promote healthy, glowing skin!   

I’m really a lover of a good BOLD roast coffee bean, smooth and rich with hints of chocolate and berries. With that being said, I, like many other Americans, I have been guilty of consuming more than my fair share in a 24-hour period, in part because I’m a hardworking business owner, always a cup-in-hand,  the other is because it’s absolutely delicious! Who can resist it? 

Unfortunately, coffee contains caffeine and while caffeine isn’t all bad, an over-consumption of caffeinated drinks can wreck havoc on your skin, especially if you aren’t consuming the recommended amount of water that your body needs to stay hydrated and flush out toxins.

Caffeine is actually dehydrating and skin needs hydration. Health advisers recommended that for approximately every 100 milligrams of caffeine you consume – for instance, the approximate amount in one cup of coffee or two cups of black tea – you should drink an additional cup of water to compensate for caffeine’s diuretic effect.

Recently, I decided to ditch my morning coffee habit permanently and reach for my favorite earthy teas. Here, I share with you one of my favorite decaffeinated herbal tea blends that you can create at home. It gets skin loving vitamin c from the lemon and hibiscus which lends to glowing, youthful, hydrated skin. Drink this hot or cold. 

*Creating your own loose leaf blends give you more bang for your buck as well.

Hibiscus Tea
BODYTRUTH Skin Tonic

G.H. Soaps - recommends hibiscus tea
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh organic* ginger root
  • 1-2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 TBSP dried hibiscus petals organic* raw honey
  • 6-8 oz hot water

Peel and roughly chop [or grate] the fresh ginger root and add it to your teacup.  

Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, raw honey, and flower petals. Cover with hot water and let steep for 8-10 minutes.

Add more lemon & honey to taste if desired. 

Strain (if preferred).

G.H. Soaps & BODYTRUTH branc Skin Food Image : ginger

Ginger Root has many benefits from digestive support to circulation. It is used for stimulating blood circulation through out the body, which helps the skin to detoxify and regenerate.

G.H. Soaps - lemon

Lemon contains vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps in slowing down the free radical damage in body and promotes a healthy glow.

G.H. Soaps - dried hibiscus flower

Hibiscus Flower is a powerhouse in itself. It is a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which exfoliate skin, speed up cell turnover, and help to control acne breakouts. On top of the AHA activity are the antioxidants, anthocyanocides. These not only protect the skin from free radical damage, but have astringent properties that help shrink pores. They have an anti-inflammatory effect as well, which soothe inflamed skin and helps calm conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Blue Detox tea

It’s Your Turn

Share your healthy skin tips with the community by commenting below. Also join us on our social media page. When you share, you help the masses!