Balsam of Peru Avoidance Diet
Those allergic to Balsam of Peru by patch testing may find that their skin condition improves with an avoidance diet.
A diet excluding Balsam of Peru containing foods is a great tool to use in living a reaction-free lifestyle. An avoidance diet includes excluding foods containing BofP constituents like cinnamates, vanillin, benzoic acid, and eugenol. Balsam of Peru chemical constituents are found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, spices, condiments, sweets, and liquor.
Those that are allergic to Balsam of Peru by patch testing may find that eliminating topical allergens is not enough to be reaction free. Following an avoidance diet, you may find that your skin condition improves when eliminating (or greatly reducing) your intake of these foods. Many find by eliminating as many of these foods as possible for 8-10 weeks, a reset in tolerance happens.
I like to illustrate this as a bucket. When your bucket is already full, any extra exposure or accidental exposure will overfill the bucket. When resetting or emptying the bucket, an accidental exposure might not tip you over the edge. By the end of this time, you should be able to tell if following the diet has helped your skin. It can take up to 6 weeks to see a clearance of skin, although some find in as little as 10 days they are feeling much better.
Avoid all BoP Containing foods for 8-10 weeks
While the list of foods to avoid can seem quite daunting, many find it is only a few food items actually causing all the trouble. After 8-10 weeks of clearance, adding one food back each week will allow you to see what foods you can consume without a reaction. Not everyone will have a skin reaction when they eat all of these foods, but since individual food testing is not always reliable, we recommend avoidance of all and then reintroduction of individual foods one at a time.
Balsam of Peru is not a histamine mediated allergy and therefore is not a typical food allergy that causes anaphylactic shock. Balsam of Peru Allergy is a Type IV Delayed Hypersensitivity allergy mediated by your body’s T-Cells. Read more about What is Allergic Contact Dermatitis here.
Following Foods should be avoided
▪Products that contain citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, as well as juices, marmalades, & baked goods
▪Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, allspice, anise, ginger, turmeric
▪Foods that may contain cinnamon and vanilla flavorings, such as ice cream, baked goods, candy, and chewing gum
▪Flavor: this may be found in toothpaste, chewing gum, mints, cough drops, and mouthwash in addition to other foods, – can be listed just as Flavor –
▪Tomatoes and tomato-containing products
▪Red sauces and tomato-based foods, including salsa, pizza, chili, and Italian food
▪Spicy condiments: ketchup, chili sauce, barbecue sauce, and chutney
▪Chocolate (cacao beans are high in benzoates and eugenol, prepared chocolate can be contain additions like soy lecithin and vanilla/vanillin)
▪Cola (specifically Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper – caramel/brown artificial coloring can also contain BoP derivatives or benzoate preservatives)
▪perfumed or flavored tea and tobacco, pickles and pickled vegetables
▪Oaked wines and spirits, rum, some wine, beer, gin, vermouth
Balsam of Peru Avoidance Diet Resources
For a more detailed understanding, please read the breakdown of medical journal article by American Contact Dermatitis Society: Balsam of Peru – Past and Present.
A helpful and comprehensive list of foods to avoid can also be found at the Dermatitis Academy website.