Rosacea is a skin disease characterized by redness on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. It might also be accompanied by bumps or pustules and dry, flaky skin. The exact causes of rosacea are not well known, but there are environmental and dietary triggers that can cause outbreaks. The best rosacea diet varies from person to person, and patients often need to find their triggers by trial and error.
Environmental factors are the most common cause of rosacea outbreaks. Direct sun exposure almost always causes an outbreak, so patients should always use 30 SPF sunscreen and wear protective clothing. Other factors that cause flushing and vascular dilation such as strenuous exercise in a hot environment, stress, anger, and embarrassment can also lead to outbreaks. Doctors advise rosacea sufferers to make lifestyle changes to avoid environmental triggers as much as possible, because even the best rosacea diet cannot slow the progression of the disease if other triggers are present.
Foods that cause the skin to get hot or become flushed should be avoided by rosacea sufferers. Foods and drinks that might cause reddening even in the faces of people who don't have rosacea need to be avoided entirely or reduced in any rosacea diet. Hot soups, tea, and coffee may be consumed after they have been allowed to cool. Alcohol, especially beer and red wine, can cause an outbreak, as well as spicy foods containing chili or curry. Most rosacea patients find the best rosacea diet for them does not contain these foods and drinks.
There are foods that can cause outbreaks in some patients but not others, so rosacea sufferers are often advised to keep a food diary to find the triggers specific to them. For many people, chocolate is a trigger while others are affected by artificial sweeteners. Citrus fruits and juices often affect the condition, as well as tomatoes, red meat, cheese, and shellfish. Raisins, red plums, vinegar, and soy sauce are other common triggers. On the other hand, some fruits like cherries and blueberries act as vascular constrictors, and might improve some people's skin condition.
Some research suggests that the best rosacea diet increases alkaline foods and reduces acidic foods. Foods that are highly alkaline include mineral water, lentils, sweet potatoes, and watermelon. Some highly acidic foods that should be avoided are white vinegar, beef, and walnuts. Each rosacea sufferer might need to experiment with these foods to see their effect on the individual case.