As an inflammatory disease, ocular rosacea is a condition that involves, redness, burning, and irritation in the eyes. The condition often develops in individuals who already have the chronic skin condition that affects the face, known as rosacea. However, some individuals develop ocular rosacea as a first indicator that they may later develop the facial condition.
In either case, there are a number of factors that can impact the condition, including diet. So if you or someone you know is struggled with ocular, or eye, rosacea, it may be worth exploring the ocular rosacea diet to achieve some level of relief.
What You Can Eat on an Ocular Rosacea Diet
Since the condition is an inflammatory disease, recurrence of the condition or flares can often be linked to an inflammatory response. This response occurs on a cellular level and is invisible to the naked eye but manifests in the irritation and symptomatic conditions you may notice develop in and around your eyes. Monitoring your food intake and following an anti-inflammatory diet has been found to reduce the frequency and intensity of symptoms.
An anti-inflammatory diet can be defined as one that is low in inflammation-causing foods and high in inflammation-fighting or anti-inflammatory foods. This approach typically involves eating a good amount of high-quality protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Drinking plenty of water and antioxidant-rich beverages, such as green tea, is also important in this approach.
Foods that are approved on an ocular rosacea diet or an anti-inflammatory regimen include:
- Whole grains;
- Seeds and nuts;
- Fresh vegetables;
- Fresh fruit, including cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and other vascular constrictors;
- Chicken and fish.
In addition to these suggestions, individuals who want to adopt a more specific ocular rosacea diet can implement these principles for more targeted benefits:
1. Eat at Least 25 Grams of Fiber Each Day
Fiber helps reduce inflammation and is found in such foods as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some of the best sources of fiber include barley, oatmeal, eggplant, onions, bananas, and blueberries.
2. Eat 9 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Each Day
As a rule of thumb, a “serving” is one half cup of cooked fruit or veggies or one cup of raw. Seasoning these foods with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, including turmeric and ginger, will also support your dietary efforts.
3. Use Oils that Contain Healthy Fats
Your body needs fat to thrive; however, it needs the right kind of fat. Choose virgin or extra-virgin olive oil to achieve the most anti-inflammatory benefits.
4. Consume Omega-3 Rich Foods
Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body. So incorporating several omega-3 rich foods in your diet each day will help you regulate your condition. Foods high in omega-3s include flax, walnuts, kidney beans, and salmon.
5. Eat Regular Snacks Throughout the Day
Eating frequently enough is important to keep your metabolism regulated and your system performing at its best. Be sure to choose healthy snacks, such as fruit, Greek yogurt, carrots, or nuts.
Foods to Avoid if You Have Ocular Rosacea
Knowing what foods to avoid while following an ocular rosacea diet is just as important as knowing what foods to eat. There are several inflammatory foods that you need to avoid, such as:
- High glycemic carbohydrates;
- Processed foods;
- Sugary, starchy foods;
- Foods high in trans fat;
- Foods high in saturated fat.
Additionally, some individuals may experience rosacea triggers from certain foods. Some of the most common trigger foods include:
- Dairy, including cheese, regular yogurt, and sour cream;
- Alcohol, including red wine, beer, vodka, bourbon, champagne, and gin;
- Soy sauce and other salty condiments;
- Yeast extract;
- Some beans and pods, including lima beans and peas;
- Citrus fruits, including tomatoes, red plums, raisins, and figs;
- Spicy and hot foods.
In addition to avoiding these food groups and specific foods, individuals with ocular rosacea may benefit from following these guidelines:
1. Limit Saturated Fat
Saturated fat increases inflammation and contributes to a number of different diseases. To reduce your risk of an inflammatory response, limit your intake of saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calories. This also includes limiting your red meat intake and marinating with herbs instead of heavy dressings.
2. Avoid Processed and Refined Foods
Foods that are high in sodium and contain refined sugar, such as high-fructose corn syrup, contribute to inflammation. Avoid these foods whenever possible to reduce your inflammatory response and to reduce your risk of insulin resistance, increased uric acid levels, high blood pressure, and more.
3. Eliminate Trans Fats
Foods that are high in trans fats have a higher level of C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammatory responses in the body. It’s best to eliminate these from your diet as much as possible. Trans fats are often found in vegetable shortening, some margarine, crackers, and cookies among other foods. Be sure to check the labels of what you are eating if it is packaged.
It’s also important to note that cooked food is better than raw for most individuals, as cooking foods typically makes them easier to digest. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll likely want to eat foods at a cooler rather than hotter temperature and to keep hot spices at a minimum. And while these suggestions of what to eat and what to avoid are extensive, they are not comprehensive.
So you will need to do some trial and error with different foods that you have available to you. Many individuals following an ocular rosacea diet find it beneficial to keep a food diary to track the different foods that cause inflammation and discomfort in their bodies.
While there are several factors that impact inflammation in the body and contribute to ocular rosacea, adopting an ocular rosacea diet or an anti-inflammatory food approach can significantly reduce your issues with the condition. To follow this protocol, you will want to avoid inflammation-causing foods and incorporate more inflammation-fighting foods. As with most treatment plans, however, you will want to keep track of the changes you make and how they affect you and work closely with your doctor to effectively manage your condition.