The Rosacea Diet

While a late-night Googling may have shown you 200 searches claiming that there is such a thing as a “rosacea diet”, the truth is that a one-size-fits-all “rosacea diet” isn’t going to get you to your goal of rosacea-free skin.

Will the so-called rosacea diet help you “manage” flare-ups? Short term, it may. But don’t put all your hopes into this symptom-based strategy.

Before we go further into this topic of a “rosacea diet”, let’s clarify a few things:

1. One of the core principles of Functional Nutrition is the honoring of each person’s bio-individuality. Generic advice found on Google, Instagram or YouTube about a so-called rosacea diet will only take you so far and in some cases make things worse. 

2. We do not talk about “managing” flare-ups, eliminating triggers, or alleviating rosacea symptoms on, We do not try to beat your skin into submission as if it’s an uncontrollable beast that wants you to have a miserable life. Your rosacea is your skin calling for help, it’s not a curse.  We also don’t talk about “cures” (outside-in) or use words such as “incurable”. Here, we talk about healing: physical + emotional healing. We also talk about the innate intelligence of the body and how, when we support it and give it what it needs, it naturally gets back into balance – balance reflected as clear, glowing skin as well as vitality!

3. Addressing symptoms alone will always fail. Most articles about the “rosacea diet” will talk about removing triggers (spicy foods, alcohol…) so you can “manage” flare-ups. This is a symptomatic, band-aid approach that will leave you forever chasing your tail. This approach is exhausting, requires discipline, and is not a sustainable approach to healing.

4. The word discipline is on my shit list. I will never ask you to be disciplined or to deprive yourself of what brings you joy. 

5. A rosacea diet will not heal or cure rosacea. To heal rosacea, you must address the root causes.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s start by looking at what a rosacea diet is NOT (or what it does not contain…)

A rosacea diet does not contain:

  • Wheat – gluten (no exception)
  • Dairy (although there are exceptions)
  • Crack sugar and high fructose crap
  • Pops (Coke, diet Coke, Pepsi and other crack sugar drinks)
  • GMO corn
  • Pesticides
  • GMO soy
  • GMO foods
  • Processed meat
  • Packaged food that contains bajillions of unpronounceable ingredients
  • Big factory meat injected with hormones and fed GMO grains and corn
  • Beer and hard alcohol
  • Meals at a restaurant where you do not know the quality of foods (is it organic?) or where / how it was grown
  • Fast food
  • Chips, cookies, cakes…

A rosacea diet *may or may not* contain:

  • Raw organic chocolate (high histamine)
  • Organic, fair-trade coffee that has been tested for mold
  • The occasional glass of organic wine
  • Spicy foods
  • Grains
  • Nightshades

Can you have one delicious cup of coffee on the rosacea diet? Maybe. There are key factors to look at such as sleep, hormones, and gut dysbiosis before deciding if coffee is a no-go for you.

Can you have the occasional glass of organic red wine on a rosacea diet? Not while you are healing the gut. But after? Maybe.

What about spicy foods?

Spicy foods, which have been demonized, are not the culprit per se.

If you have what is commonly (and annoyingly) called a rosacea “flare-up” after eating spicy food, ask yourself why?

What EXACTLY did you eat?

Piri piri sauce? Cayenne? You might have an intolerance to nightshades, which is why your skin gets worst after eating these foods.
Ultimately, this points to food sensitivity and potentially leaky gut. Heal the gut and you may be able to have piri piri once in a while. 🙂

Other foods to watch out for:

1. High FODMAP foods: rosacea is very often linked to SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). If you’ve tested positive for SIBO your practitioner will recommend a low FODMAP diet (too long to explain here) while treating the bacterial overgrowth a targeted supplements protocol

2. High histamine foods (chocolate, bone broth, wine, beer, processed meats, avocado… the list is long). There is a link between high histamine (or histamine intolerance), acne and rosacea therefore your practitioner may recommend a low histamine diet as you work on getting to the root cause of the histamine issue and other possible root causes of rosacea

3. Foods that cause an immune response due to leaky gut and food sensitivities. This is where healthy foods become kryptonite.

What a *generic* anti-inflammatory rosacea diet usually consists of:

  • Fresh organic fruits and vegetables (organic is a non-negotiable)
  • Favoring leafy greens (if you tolerate oxalates)
  • Antioxidants turmeric, ginger, wild blueberries and other berries
  • Foods high in omega 3s such as wild-caught sockeye salmon (stay away from farmed fish, they are toxic as well as big fish such as tuna which may contain a high level of heavy metals)

Again, the foods that will be most healing to you need to be determined based on your bio-individuality, possible food sensitivities, gut issues, etc…

What about water?

Water – not discussed enough IMO plus lots of people think their water is safe (which it is not).

Water is key to flushing out toxins so the quality of the water you drink is crucial.

Please avoid plastic bottled water at all cost as well as tap water.

Plastic water bottles contain a sizable amount of Bisphenol A (BPA), a substance that has been classified as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it bears a toxic effect on a human’s ability to reproduce.

Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all humans. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Exposing yourself to chemicals from water burdens your liver and your liver already has enough o its plate, let’s not make things worse.

Here’s what might be in your delicious glass of tap water:

  • Lead
  • Fluoride
  • Chlorine
  • Chloramines
  • Mercury
  • VOCs
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides

Clients often ask me if their refrigerator filter will cut it, the answer is no. Britta filters are also a no as they don’t filter a lot of the toxic chemicals.

If you’re serious about healing rosacea, investing in a good water filter will be key.

My top choice is the Berkey filter – that’s the one I use and I love it.

My second choice is the Santevia, although I’m not a fan of the plastic container and the cost of filters may negate the savings should you invest in a Berkey.

Another option (although not cheaper) is Waterwise.

If you’d like to learn more about water filters, Melissa Gallico who was my guest on the Journey To Glow podcast (a fantastic interview about fluoride and acne, a must-listen but be warned that you’ll be shocked at what the government allows to be in your tap water) has a list of filters here.

Key takeaway about the “rosacea diet”

I hope that your key takeaway is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rosacea diet, and I hope that I made it clear that a rosacea diet will not heal or cure rosacea. To heal rosacea, you need to address the underlying issues and get to the root causes.

Your next step: If you feel overwhelmed with the amount of information out there and want to cut through the noise, book a rosacea consult.


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