The adage, “We are what we eat,” is true after all. In order to be fit and healthy both physically and mentally, one must choose what he eats wisely. The same is true with skincare and acne prevention. You should know what foods to avoid to prevent acne and to get a clearer and healthier skin.
This article will look into five foods that can cause acne and healthy food alternatives that you can try, instead.
- Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar
Fruits may be healthy and good for the skin, but not in the case of dried fruits and fruit juices, which are rich in refined carbohydrates. Below are other examples of food that are rich in refined carbohydrates:
- White bread, crackers, cereal or desserts that are made with white flour
- White rice and noodles
- Pasta made from white flour
- Potato chips and energy bars
- Sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Sweeteners like maple syrup, cane, honey or agave
With refined sugars, the nutrients are rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream causing a spike in blood sugar levels. When this happens, insulin levels also rise in order to transport these blood sugars from the bloodstream and into the cells. However, high level of insulin is not good for acne.
Insulin triggers the formation of acne by causing an increase in the production of skin cells, sebum, and androgens. Low-glycemic diets, on the other hand, are associated with decreased acne formation since these diets don’t raise the blood sugar level quickly.
- Foods Rich in Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Don’t confuse these with omega-3 fatty acids, which are good in preventing acne because of their anti-inflammatory effects. On the contrary, foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids are associated to increased levels of inflammation and acne. Sunflower, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils contain the highest amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
- Dairy Products
If you are used to drinking milk to help yourself sleep at night, then, you might want to try other ways to promote sleep if you want to get rid of your acne. The more milk you drink, the more susceptible you are to acne, especially if it’s skim milk.
It isn’t clear as to how milk affects the eruption of acne, but there are several theories explaining its connection. Milk is believed to increase the level of insulin in our body, apart from the fact that it also increases the blood sugar level. And like what we’ve mentioned earlier, increased insulin triggers the formation of acne.
Moreover, cow’s milk contains amino acids that instigate the liver to produce more insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This hormone is believed to cause clogging of pores, which can lead to acne.
Earlier it’s milk, and now sad to say it’s chocolate. In fact, chocolate has been suspected to cause acne since the 1920s. However, it isn’t unclear up to now as to how it can increase the likelihood of getting these red bumps.
- Fast Food
It seems that almost all of our mouthwatering favorites can trigger the production of acne. Well, simply speaking, foods and drinks that are being sold at fast food chains most likely contain refined sugars and carbohydrates. And we’ve already talked about the connection of these to acne.
Fast food items like burgers, fries, hotdogs, nuggets, milkshakes, and sodas are staples of a typical Western diet, and all of these may increase the risk of acne. And since these food choices contain saturated fats, it’s also logical to believe that apart from refined sugars and carbohydrates, saturated fats can also contribute to acne formation.
In fact, a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looked at some diet habits and found out that individuals with moderate to severe acne consume more saturated fats than those with mild acne and clear skin.
What to Eat Instead
While you realize that almost every food that you usually eat on a daily basis cause acne, there are still other sumptuous and healthier options out there if you want to get rid of acne (not to mention if you want to lose weight, too).
- Mediterranean-style diet: Time to trade your Western diet with Mediterranean-style diet if you are serious about getting rid of your acne once and for all. This diet is composed mainly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, poultry, lean sources of protein, and olive oil. In addition, it is also low in saturated fats and dairy.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Regular consumption of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the occurrence of acne because of their anti-inflammatory effects. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and herring.
- Probiotics: Probiotics help reduce inflammation which leads to acne by keeping a healthy gut and balanced microbiome.
- Green tea: Polyphenols, which can be found in green tea, are associated with decreased sebum production and inflammation. It is also believed that green tea extracts can lessen the severity of acne once applied to the skin.
- Vitamins A, D, E, and Zinc: We all know that these essential nutrients are good for our over-all health, but their crucial role in acne prevention is also worth mentioning.
Getting rid of almost all the delicious stuffs might be next to impossible. As such, if you can’t really totally eliminate these foods in your diet, it would help to eat them in moderation and consume these foods together with other healthier options. As always, a well-balanced diet saves the day.
To get a much formal and personalized advice, it will be better if you can schedule an appointment with a registered nutritionist-dietician.
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