Rosacea Food Allergies

Rosacea flushing may result from an allergic reaction to some foods and a few people have an allergic reaction to ‘everything’ as their bodies are extremely dehydrated. So increasing the daily intake of water from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 16 glasses (the amount varies by humidity, temperatures, weight, exercise and outdoor exposure) will help eliminate the allergic reaction and the prevent much of the flushing.

Facial flushing is a common symptom of rosacea. It can also occur as a result of allergies, sun exposure, eczema, psoriasis or acne. In an allergy induced facial flush the redness usually concentrated around the nose and eye area, with the accompanying itchy watery eyes. Allergy flushing tends to be a more seasonal event triggered by airborne pollens. The allergy related flush is often accompanied by intense itching. One will often observe areas of flaking dry patches of skin. There may even be some crusting of skin.

Many patients with rosacea may have food allergies. A Rosacea allergic reaction may include congestion, flushing of the ears and cheeks, or a reddened nose. In a food allergy, one often experiences nasal membrane inflammation resulting in excess mucous. This response helps to differentiate between a food allergy and a food that causes vascular dilation or facial redness. We need to identify reactive foods when this flushing or vascular dilation occurs.

Rosacea redness or vascular dilation partially results from a high caloric carbohydrate burn from foods such as breads or pastas and sugar spikes from fructose, deserts, candies and sugary beverages. Think of things that give you a high burn rate, high energy, or foods that would most likely add fat to your body, and you would be identifying the worst culprits. The goal is to reduce food consumption which reduces the heat/calories burned which results in the body being noticeably colder during the winter and likewise providing less heat during the summer. As there is less heat by calories burned, there is less redness of the face or dilation. Therefore, three small meals with breakfast being the most important and grazing in between meals is better for limiting this kind of vascular dilation flushing; however, it is important to keep the daily calorie intake within one’s calorie budget to maintain your ideal weight.

Hot spicy herbs, seasonings, vinegars, spices, peppers and hot sauces all act as vascular dilators causing an increase in facial redness and a heated facial flush. Other foods that rank high as culprits that increase facial flushing include citrus juices and fruits, tomatoes, figs, red plums, bananas, chocolates and cheese. Dairy products such as milk, sour cream, ice cream, yogurt, and smoothies; vegetables including spinach, avocados, eggplant, a variety of broad-leaf pods and beans such as peas, navy beans or butter beans may cause vascular dilatation or facial flushing for some people.

Caffeine spikes from carbonated sodas, coffee and tea stimulate the nervous system resulting in facial flushing. Chocolates, alcoholic beverages and thermally hot beverages and foods increase vascular dilation even in people without rosacea.

Sugar and artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (the ingredient in Splenda), saccharin (the ingredient in Sweet ‘N Low), and aspartame (the ingredient in NutraSweet and Equal), have been found to cause noticeable facial flushing in up to 30% of people sensitive to the effects of rosacea.

It can be difficult to completely avoid all these things, but one can offset the effects with high alkaline foods and beverages. Anti-oxidant rich berries such as blueberries, cherries, and blackberries act as vascular constricting foods to help reduce facial redness and can help relieve stress. For a more complete list of vascular constricting foods visit the Rosacea Diet Page. for a list of alkaline foods and beverages.

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