Why do some foods prompt rosacea? Anything consumed that brings on flushing -- most commonly spicy foods or thermally hot beverages -- can be a culprit in inducing a flare-up. And a vast array of other foods, while less common as tripwires, has also been found to affect various individuals.
Foods containing histamine or those that release histamine in the body, such as tomatoes, spinach, eggplant, cheese, chocolate, chicken livers, citrus fruits, bananas, raisins, figs, avocados, yogurt and sour cream, or foods containing niacin can cause flushing. Foods high in niacin include liver and yeast.
Here are some tips when selecting your meal:
"Hot" spices such as white and black pepper, paprika, red pepper and cayenne are common rosacea tripwires. Look for substitutes.
Marinated meat, vanilla, soy sauce, vinegar, red plums, and the pods of broad-leaf beans, such as limas, navy or pea, have been found to affect some rosacea sufferers. Taking an antihistamine about two hours before a meal that includes a food high in histamine, or an aspirin before eating a niacin-containing food may be helpful.
It is the heat in beverages, rather than other substances such as caffeine, that may directly bring on a flare-up. So reducing the temperature may be all that's necessary.
Though the list of food tripwires is long, few if any individuals are affected by each one. The National Rosacea Society offers a Patient Diary Checklist to help you determine which foods affect you.
Wilkin JK: Recognizing and managing rosacea. Drug Therapy. 1993;June:41-49.