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Can A Healthy Diet Help Your Acne?

Let's find out what you should eat and avoid if you have acne-prone skin

The popular saying 'what we put in our body is what is reflected on our face' is whole-heartedly correct. The kind of food that we consume on a day-to-day basis determines the health of our skin and the appearance of acne. If you have tried multiple ways to deal with persistent acne issues and spent a significant amount on creams and treatments without seeing too much of a difference, chances are your diet is to blame. In this case, a healthy diet is the solution. A healthy diet consisting of nutritional and nourishing foods will not prevent the occurrence of acne but will definitely influence it. Here’s a lowdown on what foods to eat and avoid to achieve clear skin:

Foods to avoid in a healthy diet

  • Dairy
Can A Healthy Diet Help Your Acne?
  • Milk increases blood sugar which, in turn, can increase inflammation and insulin levels. This leads to the production of pimples and excess skin oils (scientifically referred to as sebum). It was also found that the way in which milk is produced contains many hormones that, upon consumption, leads to acne breakouts and encourages the overgrowth of skin cells, potentially blocking pores. Therefore, it is recommended to substitute conventional milk for other non-dairy alternatives such as almond or soy milk.
  • High-glycemic foodsA quick lesson on glycemic index (GI) is needed to understand its role in a healthy diet. GI is a measurement carried out on carbohydrate containing foods and their impact on blood sugar. High-glycemic foods such as white bread, flour, rice, and white potatoes cause a spike in blood sugar and increase the amount of insulin in the body. They are known to trigger hormonal fluctuations and inflammation—both of which encourage acne. Ideally, a healthy diet consisting of foods with a low GI (55 or lower) is recommended.
  • Fried and processed foods
Can A Healthy Diet Help Your Acne?
  • Unhealthy saturated and trans fats trigger inflammation in the body and also produce excess oil. This, in turn, clogs pores to cause increased acne. Thus, it is best to avoid or limit the intake of oily, greasy, and heavily processed foods.
  • CaffeineYour daily morning coffee is actually super dehydrating and can dry the skin from the inside out. Our skin cells are made up of a lot of water so when they dry up, our skin loses its glow and plumpness. Follow up your caffeinated beverage with lots of hydration to maintain a healthy diet and skin.
  • Desserts and other sugary foods
Can A Healthy Diet Help Your Acne?
  • Foods with high sugar content cause your body’s insulin levels to spike. This extreme overdose of insulin increases the production of oils in the skin, which lead to your follicles and pores clogging up with sebum. Alongside the inflammatory effects that are caused by a spike in insulin, this creates the ideal environment for acne causing bacteria to thrive, triggering a breakout.

Foods to eat in a healthy diet

  • Antioxidant-rich foods
Can A Healthy Diet Help Your Acne?
  • Brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, including peppers, spinach, and berries are known for their antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties. They can fight free radicals (molecules that cause skin damage and ageing) and oxidative stress (occurs when there are more free radicals present than antioxidants to counter them) within the body, which, in turn, can calm down acne.
  • Omega-3 fatty acidsEating omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish (salmon and sardines), walnuts, flaxseed, chia seed, and the like, can help tame inflammation and improve acne breakouts.
  • Zinc
  • An essential mineral that again has anti-inflammatory properties, zinc is especially beneficial for acne-prone skin. It reduces levels of bacteria that causes acne (specifically Cutibacterium acnes), and also decreases sebum production. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are packed with zinc as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Whole grains, legumes, and dark chocolate are also good sources of zinc. You can also consume zinc supplements to maintain a healthy diet, but always consult your doctor first.

FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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