A ruddy complexion may run in your family, or it could be the result of certain medical conditions, acne, prescription medications or too much sun over a long period of time. Regardless of the cause, what you put inside your body can exacerbate your symptoms. Including certain foods and excluding others can help minimize a ruddy complexion.
Your ruddy complexion may consist of a light flush to the cheeks, rough patches of redness or inflamed acne-like pustules. The skin disease rosacea is a common cause of ruddy skin and affects approximately 100 million people, according to the website of the International Rosacea Foundation. Rosacea symptoms appear when the blood vessels at the surface of the skin become inflamed or dilated. Although no one is certain what makes some people more vulnerable to rosacea or ruddiness than others, certain lifestyle behaviors can trigger outbreaks or exacerbate existing symptoms. Whether your ruddiness is hereditary, related to rosacea or results from another trigger, it can make you self-conscious, and in the case of rosacea, can lead to permanent changes to your appearance. Rosacea and hereditary ruddiness cannot be cured, but may be controlled with lifestyle changes – including your diet.
Fruits and Veggies
A healthy diet full of vegetables and fruits may help promote healthier looking skin, notes MayoClinic.com. These foods are a rich source of antioxidants, which fight inflammation-causing free radicals in the body. You are exposed to free radicals from the sun, pollution and skin irritants such as cigarette smoke and alcohol -- all of which can contribute to a ruddy complexion. Leafy greens, berries and pomegranates are especially high in antioxidants. Beans, a plant-based source of protein, offer zinc which can have antioxidant properties that fight redness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that fight inflammation. When you do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids, but too many omega-6 fatty acids – found in deli meats; oils such as cottonseed, peanut and canola oil; and many soy foods -- you may see an increase in inflammation in your body and a ruddier complexion. Seek out more omega-3-containing foods such as cold-water fish, flaxseed, hemp seed, walnuts and sea vegetables to keep your body in balance and your complexion healthy.
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Foods to Avoid
Spicy foods and alcohol are implicated in ruddy flare ups, especially if you suffer from rosacea. Dairy products, aged cheese; monosodium glutamate, or MSG; citrus; and nightshade vegetables such as eggplants and peppers are also potential aggravators. Avoiding processed foods can also help a ruddy complexion. Processed foods are usually highly refined and contain sugar, preservatives, trans fats, white flour and chemical dyes that can irritate red blood cells and cause redness. Chips, soda, fast food, candy, cookies, cereal, cakes, snacks and bars are among the most processed foods available.
- MayoClinic.com: Rosacea
- National Rosacea Society: Rosacea Trigger Survey
- MayoClinic.com: Five Tips for Healthy Skin
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fruits and Vegetable Benefits
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- International Rosacea Foundation: Symptoms of Rosacea
- CNN: Is Your Diet Good For Your Skin
- Journal of Nutrition: The Antioxidant Properties of Zinc
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.