Foods to Eat for Rosacea

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
A diet for Rosacea

Rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness, flushing, irritation, swelling, and acne-like breakouts, can be frustrating for many people. While there isn't a cure for rosacea, eating certain foods (and avoiding others) may help prevent flare-ups. MedlinePlus says to limit or avoid alcohol, hot beverages, and spicy foods to help prevent or ease rosacea symptoms. Choose more rosacea-friendly foods as part of an anti-inflammatory diet instead, suggests Dr. Andrew Weil.

Fruits and Vegetables

Antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies play important roles in maintaining healthy skin, according to a 2012 review in Dermato Endocrinology. However, some fruits and vegetables seem to trigger rosacea flare-ups more than others, says Dr. Jonathan Wilkin and the National Rosacea Society. Therefore, choose nutritious fruits and vegetables from the following list, which won't trigger flare-ups but can help you maintain healthier skin:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Winter squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Onion
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Leafy greens
  • Green beans
  • Pears
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Apples
  • Cherries

Heart-Healthy Oils

Dr. Robynne Chutkan suggests eating plenty of omega-3-rich oils to help ease inflammation and combat rosacea. These (and other heart-healthy oils) include:

  • Flaxseed oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Perilla seed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Hempseed oil

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are part of an anti-inflammatory diet, so they can combat the inflammation associated with rosacea. Good picks when you have rosacea include:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Chia seeds

Certain Whole Grains

Pick certain whole grains in place of refined grains and added sugars to help ease rosacea symptoms, recommends Dr. Scott Olson. He and Dr. Andrew Weil suggest the following grains as part of an anti-inflammatory diet beneficial for rosacea:

  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice

Protein Foods

The following protein foods are generally included in Paleo meal plans, which help combat rosacea, says Dr. Chutkan.

  • Eggs
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, anchovies, herring, and other omega-3-rich fish
  • Shellfish
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Bison
  • Venison
  • Quail
  • Duck

Dairy Alternatives

Dairy foods appear to promote rosacea flare-ups, according to the National Rosacea Society and Dr. Chutkan. But, you'll still want to reap the benefits of calcium and vitamin D commonly found in dairy products. Instead, choose calcium-rich, dairy-free alternatives, such as:

  • Protein-fortified almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hemp milk

Beverages

Unfortunately, many beverages are on the rosacea flare-up list like hot coffee or tea, hot cider, alcohol, hot chocolate, and cow's milk. The following beverages are better options:

  • Water (best choice)
  • Water flavored with fruit (from list above) chunks
  • Cool fruit juice (with the exception of citrus and tomato juices)
  • Plant-based, non-dairy milk alternatives
  • Iced tea (unsweetened)
  • Iced coffee

Condiments

Numerous condiments (like those that are spicy, vinegar, ketchup, sour cream, condiments containing added sugar, and soy sauce) may make rosacea worse. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), barbecue sauce, and horseradish sauce can also cause flare-ups in many people with rosacea, according to the National Rosacea Society. While any condiment has the potential to worsen rosacea, those below are generally better options:

  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Oils

Spices

Bold, spicy flavors (like chili powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper, curry powder, and black pepper) may lead to rosacea flare-ups, so the National Rosacea Society suggests using the following seasonings instead:

  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Fresh mint
  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Allspice
  • Marjoram

Rosacea Diet Basics

Following an anti-inflammatory or Paleo diet may help reduce rosacea severity or symptoms. However, there isn't a one-size-fits-all rosacea diet, so you may have to experiment to determine which type of diet and foods work best for you.

Foods to Eat for Rosacea