NO one likes a breakout. I don’t think I’ve met one person that thinks of a plump, luscious, Rudolph-red Zit on the tip of the nose as a good thing. And if there is that one person out there who sees zits in this light, I want to meet you.
Clear skin, or better yet, glowing skin is something that everyone can appreciate. Once upon a time, we were told that what we ate had nothing to do with breakouts. We now know that the right or wrong foods can have a fundamental role in skin health.
Here are 3 foods to cut, and 3 foods to eat for awesome, clear skin.
3 foods to dump:
1) Sugary, refined foods: carbonated sugary drinks, sweets, that extra sugar in your coffee, processed foods like cakes, white bread and white pasta.
No big surprise here, but when we consume foods that rank higher on the Glycemic Index (a measure of how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar), our blood sugar rises so rapidly that we get a surge of insulin, insulin-like compounds, and subsequently an increase in androgens (male sex-hormones, present in both men and women).
Together, these compounds promote inflammation, excessive skin-cell growth, and excessive sebum production (sebum’s an oily/substance present in all skin, but at higher levels in acne patients). Excess skin-cell growth + excess sebum = the perfect stage for clogged pores!
Insulin itself is also extremely inflammatory, and as acne is considered a chronic inflammatory disease, we want to eliminate all foods that drastically spike insulin, and induce inflammation.
Sneaky trick: Avoid foods that avidly claim “LOW FAT”. When foods are processed to be “low fat”, they tend to replace that fat with excess sugar!
2) Dairy: milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream
There is a huge connection between dairy consumption and breakouts. One theory is that cow’s milk contains an insulin-like compound (called Insulin-Growth Factor 1), which promotes excessive growth and inflammation in the body. Try eliminating dairy for 2 weeks and notice the difference in your skin.
Sneaky trick: read the labels! A lot of time breads, cereals, and even salad dressings have added dairy (look for words like milk ingredients, casein, whey, lactose – all of which are dairy!)
3) Fried Foods
Again, not a huge surprise - fried foods contribute to inflammation in the body, and as acne is an inflammatory condition, we want to eliminate as many inflammatory foods as possible.
3 Foods to Eat:
1) Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies (if you can stand them)
These foods are rich in omega-3, and essential fatty acid that helps decrease inflammation in the body and decrease compounds in the body (ex. IGF-1) that encourages excess growth in the body.
If you’re not a fan of eating fish, I advise supplementing with a good quality fish oil (I like Nutrasea by Ascenta), getting at least 2000 omega-3 per day.
2) Fermented Foods: ex. miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha
These foods, don't worry if they're new words for you, are rich in live, good bacteria that play such an important role in our bodies. There have been numerous studies done on how the bacteria in our gut affect numerous aspects of our body, from our brain to our skin. Probiotics (good bacteria) help reduce inflammation in the gut, and likewise, reduce inflammation in the skin! Yoghurt is also considered a fermented food, but if you are cutting out dairy, best avoid it.
If you don’t like the sound of fermented foods, baby steps. Opt to go to your local health food store and invest in a probiotic.
3) Pumpkin Seeds (or Oysters if you like seafood)
Both pumpkin seeds and oysters contain zinc, a mineral necessary for optimal skin health. Zinc helps block the conversion of testosterone to something called DiHydroxytestertone (DHT), a form of testosterone that increases sebum production! Block DHT = less sebum production!
Other good sources of zinc include liver, sesame seeds and spinach!
It goes without saying that I encourage a huge amount of fresh vegetables and fruit as part of an anti-acne diet! The bottom line is, for clear skin, you need to feed your body clean foods!!
Till next time warriors.