Rosacea and nutrition

Since I’ve been suffering with rosacea, like many other people I’ve been doing research. Let’s face it, there is not much else that we can do as this condition is not even half understood by the medical world today. Perhaps I’m not the only one who felt disheartened by the sometimes fruitless search on the internet. The good thing is, more and more people are sharing their experiences nowadays with the world, but at the same time it can be overwhelming as there is too much information out there. If you just discovered you’ve got rosacea, ideally, you should be able to go on to a reputable (and possibly medically edited) website that gives you the information you need all in one place. Unfortunately most of these sites – even if they exist – are far from exhaustive in terms of information. At least when it comes to the multifaceted approach that I believe this condition needs, in order to bring it to a manageable level. So you are left with trawling the internet for information from all corners of the world. Most of us sufferers – like I was in the beginning – will look into all kinds of lotions and cleansers and masks and so on….all outside, topical treatments that do not target the underlying problem / cause. Now of course we don’t know what exactly causes rosacea, but we can tell it is an inflammatory condition, based on some symptoms, such as flushing, burning sensations, red cheeks etc. So why is it then, that every single time I stumble upon a new website or blog or vlog or article in a newspaper, nobody seems to acknowledge just how important it is to eat properly? There are it seems to me, even many health professionals that will deny that your gut has anything to do with your skin when- to me – it’s clearer than daylight that it very much does. When even a clinically trained person says this, how are we supposed to have the confidence to change things for the better?

Personally it infuriates me that most people who are like me, just novices trying to share information on a blog or vlog, eventually end up doing something else than helping. That is selling! Use this product and your rosacea will be a lot better (they say), or cure it, taking you to payment windows of their ebook full of “secrets” as to how they managed to “get rid” of rosacea. Just to clarify. At this moment in time, there isn’t enough knowledge out there for anyone to be able to come up with a definitive cure for this condition. It’s sad but true. But we should not be discouraged, because there are a good few things out there that we can try before we give up! What I’m trying to do on my blog here, is to raise awareness that you don’t need 100000 creams and pills to get your rosacea under control. This is advice that will not cost you any money for empty promises. Which is why most people out there are not “advertising” the importance of nutrition, unless they own a farm full of food!

But enough of the intro here, let’s try to get to grips with this.

The most important thing that I learned in my life, came from my parents. Eat properly. I personally come from a culture where the typical national foods are rather greasy. Traditional Hungarian cuisine often involves cooking with animal fats rather than oil. It does give better taste to the food, however it’s very unhealthy, raising cholesterol and adding to health issues. Luckily my mother never really cooked traditionally and she raised me and my brother on a healthy diet, that involved vegetables and fruits from an early age. I thank her for this, as to this day the good habits have stuck with me, and as weird as it may sound, I love vegetables. Where I come from everything is full of flavour and that definitely helps with convincing kids to eat their 5 a day! Since I came to live in England 10 years ago, I have to admit it was rather difficult to get used to the fact that most vegetables and fruits here taste bland, unless organic, sometimes even then. Thankfully that did not stop me from eating them.

I am not going to  give you a specific diet to follow here, but i’m going to write a list of what I will eat and drink, and what I will not / rarely consume. First for the no go list: no hot spices (not necessarily for reducing body temp, but because I don’t like spicy foods), no alcohol (never had a drop in my life), no energy drinks (full of sugar), no fast food (Mc & co.), no takeaways, no fizzy drinks, no packs of sweets / crisps / biscuits by the bucketload. I know it sounds strict and you might not want to do all or any of this. I met a lot of people during my lifetime (32 years and counting…sadly) who might have not necessarily had rosacea, but they were reluctant to give up their unhealthy ways of life when it came to food, even though they had bigger problems than me, such as diabetes and heart failure. What one needs to realise is this: you need to make a choice and prioritise. If you are not THAT bothered by your butterfly cheeks, then, by all means leave things as they are. If you are however, I’ll give you a hint: no matter what you do on the outside, it won’t work unless you stop or at least interrupt the chain of events inside your body that cause inflammation. Because all of the above foods do more harm than good.

You might have noticed that I left out the dairy group. That’s because I have a bit of a history with this. All my life I had been drinking milk and consuming dairy products. In a last bid to reduce inflammation, I had (almost completely apart from butter) abandoned this food group precisely 3 years ago. The result? Dramatically reduced rosacea. Now I’m not going to actively encourage anyone to shut out a whole food group from their diet, especially  without consulting a doctor or even better, a dietitian. If you want to try this, you will need to make sure that you substitute the essential building blocks of your body with other sources. I’m talking about calcium. It’s essential for bone density, and nerve health as well as blood clotting. I personally switched to almond milk which is fortified with calcium and I take a supplement on top of that. When you leave dairy, it will become difficult to replenish calcium purely from other foods as dairy is the cheapest and most convenient way (not to mention  most abundant source) of doing so. Dosage should be discussed  with your doctor, just to be on the safe side. I worked in the medical admin field for a while now, so I had access to free advice from my colleagues (not that it costs you anything to have at least a telephone call with your GP). Of course, just by leaving out the nasties, you won’t be solving your inflammatory problems. You will need to introduce food that will actively encourage the healing process. Here it goes my “will eat loads of” list: vegetables, namely everything apart from brussel sprouts, pumpkin, beetroot and rhubarb (i don’t like these), fruits, whole grain breads but most likely spelt bread (look it up, it has amazing benefits for the body and keeps you fuller for longer), meat (mostly red meat, trying to keep it organic, but I like fish a lot lately),eggs, musli, likely without added sugar, legumes, pumpkin seeds and drink lots of water. Add to this list the ones I don’t consume regularly for financial reasons but I love them: goji berries, all kinds of nuts but mostly walnuts and pistachios, quinoa and other healthy grains. Of course this is not an exhaustive list but will give you a good example of what your body needs to keep inflammation at bay.

You might wonder if I eat anything naughty at all. I do of course I’m not a saint, but the emphasis is on moderation. I would rather eat a square of chocolate a day, then eat the whole bar and deal with breakouts or worsening rosacea because of the sugar content. It’s also a good idea to make your own desserts as in this way you will be aware of just how much sugar you’r consuming. The key? Less is always best. I personally bake cakes or pancakes (with home made jam) or buy quality chocolates especially dark ones as those have minimal sugar and they are delicious. Most of the hyped up / over advertised chocolate products rarely even have chocolate in them (I mean the cocoa content), so you are not even getting your money’s worth with these, not even mentioning the fact that they are full of additives and other unknown stuff we can’t pronounce the name of on the ingredients list.

So this is it. Not so complicated isn’t it? Cook your own food, keep sugar to a minimum as it’s the most harmful thing you can get into your body, and drink lots of healthy fluids. If you make major changes in your diet, there is no way that it will not show up on your wellbeing / skin / mood, unless you have an underlying medical condition (that is not rosacea). Just remember

Your health is the most precious thing you’ve got. Protect it and don’t take it for granted!

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