Rosacea is a common skin condition that can be frustrating and embarrassing. It is characterized by increased facial redness and sometimes bumps, which can be mistaken for acne. Treatments for rosacea only help to reduce symptoms, because there is currently no cure. Diet may be a practical way to help maintain symptoms of rosacea!
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects more than 14 million people in the United States alone. The condition is characterized by flushing, redness and visible blood vessels on facial skin. Rosacea is also commonly mistaken as acne because it can also include pus-filled bumps. It is also mistaken for rosy cheeks or sunburn and has been notoriously associated with heavy alcohol use.
There are four different types of rosacea, but the official cause is unknown. It is believed to be caused by multiple factors, including a dense presence of sebaceous (oil) glands in the facial area and high levels of hormones that can cause inflammation. One of the biggest misconceptions about rosacea is that it is caused by poor hygiene, but it is a result of a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. While there is no food-based rosacea cure, here are some foods to incorporate into a rosacea healthy diet.
5 Best Foods to Improve Rosacea
An important aspect of treating rosacea with food is to remember to pick foods with anti-inflammatory properties because rosacea is an inflammatory disease. Fresh organic fruits not only have anti-inflammatory properties but also contain a high amount of antioxidants that can help to prevent damage on a cellular level.
Fatty fish also contain anti-inflammatory properties, because they have high levels of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Both zinc and omega-3 fatty acids help to inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways and help block inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help to prevent dry eye symptoms in people with ocular rosacea. Other great sources of omega-3 fatty acids are flax seeds and walnuts.
Turmeric is a spice derived from the Curcuma longa plant in India that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. One theory is that an active compound within turmeric called curcumin contributes to its anti-inflammatory capabilities.
It was found that bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract may worsen rosacea and that patients with rosacea are more prone to gastrointestinal infections. A study found that when gastrointestinal imbalances were treated with probiotics, the severity of participants' rosacea was reduced. In addition to probiotic supplements, fermented foods are full of probiotics that may be beneficial to keep gut bacteria in balance to help prevent infections and rosacea flare-ups. Examples of delicious and nutritious fermented foods include miso, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, and more!
High fiber vegetables
Bland vegetables can also help to improve rosacea by helping to prevent bacterial overgrowth. Dr. Robynne Chutkan states that vegetables like leafy greens, asparagus, and legumes like lentils can help to create an environment that allows for good gut bacteria to grow and diversify. She also says that avoiding starches and refined sugars will help to prevent gut bacterial overgrowth.
Foods to Avoid with Rosacea
Hot foods: spicy and temperature
It was found that coffee, and other hot (temperature hot!) and spicy foods can trigger a thermoregulatory reflex that dilates blood vessels, increasing flushing of facial skin and causes rosacea flares. It is recommended to swap hot coffee and tea with iced drinks since it was the temperature and not the caffeine that seems to cause rosacea flares.
Foods that contain histamines can also trigger rosacea. Histamines are natural chemical compounds that induce inflammation by increasing vasodilation. Rosacea is an inflammatory disease, so avoiding inflammatory foods may help to avoid flare-up or reduce symptoms. Foods that have high histamine content include alcoholic beverages, pickled or canned foods, smoked meat products, shellfish, and nuts.
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