Although this is very much not a beauty blog, what you eat has a lot to do with your appearance. Of course, by this I don’t only mean your weight, but also things like your skin, hair and nails. In today’s post we’ll focus a little more on the skin thing. If you have (or are prone to) bad skin and breakouts of acne, what you eat can actually be the problem. Let’s have a look at a few foods that can be the cause of bad skin:
This one should be more obvious than it is: high sugar intake and a diet that ranks highly on the glycemic index is a major cause of acne. Sugar in all forms cause spikes in hormones such as insulin, which is one of acnes great buddies. Examples of food include things like candy, cakes and snacks. What most people forget is that huge amounts of sugar comes in liquid form. If you want clearer skin, try to avoid sodas, coffee with sugary sirups, and even alcohol (it is also a sugar!).
Cow’s milk is designed to grow baby calves, making it naturally full of growth hormones. These hormones cause acne. Yes, even if you choose organic (bio) milk, you are still drinking the hormones. Aside from the hormones, milk, much like sugar, causes a spike in insulin, making it easy for acne to appear. Drinking milk and eating cheese has been shown to lead to more acne, so try to skip the dairy to clear up your skin.
Gluten is a big trigger for inflammation in the body, as well as digestive issues. It is also a major acne-causer! The shape your skin is in shows a lot of what is going on inside your body, and with foods like bread, wheat, flour, cereal, and pasta being some of the biggest causes of inflammation in the body, this will be expressed through your skin. Gluten basically has the same effects as sugar, so eliminating it can lead to clearer skin.
Keep away from highly processed vegetable oils and trans fats – they are very closely linked to acne breakouts. Things like margarine, canola oil, corn oil, and other vegetable oils can be triggers for inflammation, so sticking to extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil is a much better idea.
You didn’t think I was done yet, did you? Here, it is all about the artificial food additives (like aspartame), which are also highly inflammatory to the body. The aspartame in diet sodas has been linked to increased acne. Diet soda lowers the pH level in your body, which can also cause acne. We need an alkaline environment for our bodies to be healthy on all levels, including our complexion, which we get from eating more vegetables and fruits.
So, apart from vegetables, good fats and no sugar, what should we look to eat for a clearer skin?
Foods that are known to be great for skin are avocados, kale, walnuts (or other nuts), wild salmon, and blueberries. The skin is one of our organ systems and it needs essential fatty acids, so taking a Omega 3 (fish oil) supplement can be helpful. This would also help the inflammatory action in your body, which causes acne (see above). Making sure your digestive health is in order is another great way to clear up acne, so doing a short cleanse or taking probiotics can also help!
Now I want to hear from you! Have you noticed any particular foods that clog up (or clear up) your skin? Are there any specific instances where you know the food was at fault for a pimple?
(Source: Dr. Frank Lipman, who is an integrative medicine physician)
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