Diet to treat rosacea

There is no one diet to treat rosacea that is right for everyone, but some triggers might surprise you!

You've probably read about avoiding red wine, spicy food, and hot food. Those actually are not triggers for me. My triggers are wheat and sugar. If I eat those soft, frosted cookies--do you know which ones I'm talking about?--I can guarantee that I will wake up the next day with a red patch on my cheek. I used to be tempted to buy those, but now I just look at them, and I think about a flare-up, and I keep walking.

The worst of the worst foods--SUGAR

But, by far, the worst offender for inflammation is SUGAR.  Try to keep added sugar under 25 g per day.  I don't count the sugar in fruit because that's natural, but I count the sugar in any processed foods, including yogurt.  You might be shocked how much extra sugar you're eating if you add it up one day--I sure was!  And once I cut it back, results were immediate.  

Other foods that could potentially make rosacea worse are:

  • tomatoes
  • potatoes
  • eggplant
  • green and red peppers
  • paprika

You have to stop eating these for at least 90 days (elimination diet) to see if it helps your symptoms. These same foods have also been implicated in arthritis symptoms, another inflammatory condition. If you're interested, you can read more about that from the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation. The problem with these foods is that they contain solanine, which is an inflammatory chemical. It's not a problem for everyone, though. Some people can eat tomatoes all day with no trouble.

Don't forget processed foods as a cause of inflammation. I'm not saying you can never have a granola bar, but perhaps every day is not so good for your skin.

Here is a quick list of inflammatory foods to avoid as you develop your diet to treat rosacea:

  • Sugar (including honey and agave syrup)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Vegetable oils (they are high in Omega-6s and common in salad dressing)
  • Trans-fats (any ingredient that say "hydrogenated" is a trans-fat

What should you eat in a diet to treat rosacea? Definitely take an antioxidant every day--my favorite is astaxanthin. It's a very potent antioxidant, and it can really help your skin. Vitamin E (avoid synthetic) is also excellent, and it's easy to find. I also added resveratrol because it's water-soluble.

Some foods that are good to include in a diet to treat rosacea because they decrease inflammation are:

  • apples
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • turmeric or curcumin (it's what makes curry yellow)
  • green tea
  • sweet potato (as opposed to white potatoes)
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • onions
  • pineapple (contains bromelain)
  • papaya
  • flax seeds and chia seeds
  • cherries

To decrease the sugar in your diet, try stevia or, even better, xylitol. I use stevia and xylitol in plain yogurt and cut out over 2 tablespoons of sugar daily, which has really helped my skin.

Recently, I stumbled across something else that has really helped me. When I travel, I am eating whatever is convenient, and my digestion bogs down. When that happens, my skin shows it--blotchiness and bumpiness. I have added chlorella tablets, and since then, I have noticed less variability to my skin. Chlorella is a potent detoxifier, taking toxins out of your circulation and eliminating them through your colon. It also speeds things along, so to speak. If you have IBS or Crohn's disease, very slowly add chlorella to your diet as it could make your condition worse at first.

Another digestion aid is wheatgrass. My skin loves it! Of course, it's a little difficult to drink because it's grass, and it's not what I would normally call food. I found one that is flavored with orange, and while I can still taste the grass, it's not horrible.

I figured out what I needed to reduce or cut out by paying attention to how my skin reacted to food. Your diet to treat rosacea may need to be a little different, but I hope this information can help you, too. If you want to see what I eat on a typical day, click here.

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