Fall weather brings lots of things to mind, including crisp cool air, leaves changing colors, and football. For many people, the tastes and smells of fall are most important, with pumpkin spice especially being a favorite.
A recent article from the National Rosacea Society highlighted a flareup issue from this seasonal treat that affects people with rosacea. When I discuss diet with patients with rosacea, spicy hot foods are one of the most common triggers of flareups that I bring up for concern.
When we think of spicy foods, we always think of items such as hot peppers, cayenne peppers, or chipotle. However, hot spices are not the only kind of spices someone with rosacea should avoid.
For the past decade, there have been reports of cinnamon causing rosacea flareups in those who are sensitive to spices. While most people know cinnamon for its sweet taste, also remember that cinnamon is the main ingredient in spicy candies like Atomic Fireballs and Hot Tamales.
The Rosacea Society has a number of recommendations for patients with this condition that may help them discover triggers of flareups and prevent their embarrassment and discomfort. Among their suggestions, they advise those with rosacea to log their daily eating habits in a food diary.
This food diary should include when a flareup occurs, and what foods and ingredients were consumed around the time of the flareup. I join the Rosacea Society in their recommendation of keeping a food diary.
When eating out, it is important to ask your waiter what is being placed in your food for flavoring enhancement. If a particular food includes something you know from your food diary or previous experience can cause a flareup, you can ask your waiter to leave out that particular ingredient, or you can order another alternative without the spice.
This brings us back to our fall or autumn theme. Pumpkin spice-flavored beverages and foods often include a blend of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Knowing that fact, you can ask your local barista or waitstaff to hold the spice if you are sensitive to spices.
If you find that you have an adverse reaction to cinnamon alone, you can actually replace it with nutmeg. Several chefs have told me that the two spices can be substituted in recipes in a 1 to 1/4 ratio. In other words, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, you can replace that one cinnamon teaspoon with just 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg instead.
Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you if you or someone you know has rosacea. You can still enjoy the sights, smells, AND tastes of fall without the embarrassment of red facial flareups. Bon appetit!