Good food helps create good skin — and eliminating acne can be as simple as adding 16 healthy food and nutrients into your daily diet
I know moving through puberty can be a really exciting phase for any child. But at some point it does get less desirable — such as when you wake up and spot something large and red on your face. These ‘new buddies’ (acne pimples) are never a welcome sight.
Stress, hopelessness, shame, and negative self-image are common emotions in youths. As if that weren’t enough, anxiety, hormonal changes, depression, smoking, and excessive use of heavy moisturizing agents can be contributing causes of this outbreak of acne. All of these can combine to erode self-image.
Worrying over acne flare-ups in my teens, and then studying the condition in medical school, my interest was piqued to research this problem a bit deeper. What I found was that, in addition to the factors above, food choices play an important role in the upsurge of acne.
To get back to a stress-free life, feeling fresh, optimistic and self-assured, I decided to take my hands off those fried spicy foods and gradually eliminated acne by simply adding healthy nutrients in my diet. You can too, at any age.
Here is the list of 16 foods and nutrients to add to your daily diet to avoid acne:
Fibers — Foods like corn, lentils, split peas, broccoli, beans, and berries are rich sources of dietary fiber that helps your body to absorb the collagen-producing nutrients such as antioxidants. Fiber also helps in anti-aging by expelling toxins from your skin and balancing fluctuating thyroid levels, which renders glowing skin.
Water — It is recommended to drink at least 3 liters of water a day to keep your skin toxin free. Dehydration is associated with more oil production from the glands and acne breakouts, whereas water hydrates the skin, minimizing the signs of aging and pore clogging.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids — Foods that are rich in these fats like flaxseed, fish oil, walnuts, arctic char, chia seeds and kidney beans protect skin cells against sun-induced inflammation and control the body response to UV rays. They also fortify cell membranes and protect the other parts of the cell against harmful free radicals. Omega-3-rich flaxseed oil also hydrates the skin.
Cucumber — Containing 95% water, cucumbers soothe your skin with its anti- inflammatory properties. Acting as a mild astringent, cucumber improves and rejuvenates the skin by absorbing heat, rendering coolness and closing open pores.
Grapefruit — This fruit is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, fiber, potassium and magnesium. It contains vitamin C and retinol antioxidant, which gives your skin softness, renewing damaged skin, and treating skin pigmentation. Potassium helps to smooth wrinkles and age spots while providing a protective shield against UV rays.
Low sugar foods —Insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are linked to acne. A low intake of sugar gradually reduces acne inflammation as insulin secretion decreases.
Leafy Green Vegetables — Spinach, kale and arugula are rich sources of vitamins C, E and K, which help in reducing inflammation of the blemish skin. They act as detoxifying antioxidants and wrinkle-resistant by producing collagen to keep the skin firm.
Spearmint Tea — Of all the teas, this has the most anti-inflammatory activity because it removes toxin from the skin by killing skin disease-causing bacteria and yeasts. It also reduces testosterone and sebum level preventing the outburst of acne.
Nuts — Varieties like almonds, chestnuts and pistachios contain minerals, copper, zinc, vitamin A, C, and E, all of which help maintain the skin’s elasticity. They also relieve inflammation or redness from acne because they neutralize free radicals by producing glutathione to hydrate skin for reducing acne.
Oats — Like a packet full of zinc, oats soothe irritation and treats inflammations. It contains saponin, a cleansing agent and a natural exfoliant that helps to remove dirt, blackheads and dead cells from your skin while balancing the amount of oil in your skin.
Salmon — This fish provides omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and D, and minerals like niacin and phosphorus. It keeps the sebum molecules of the body in control.
Yogurt — It has mild astringent properties that shrink the open pores. It contains lactic acid and alpha hydroxyl acid, natural exfoliants that unclog pores and moisturizes the skin. It also prevents the sebaceous gland from being over active.
Turmeric — This spice contains more than 300 antioxidants that help to clear acne scars and inflammation. It also reduces the oil secretion by the sebaceous glands. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties also fight pimples on the oily skin.
Honey — The enzymes in raw honey clarify skin and keep pores clear and clean. Its anti-inflammatory properties will calm redness and irritation. It is also a natural humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin and helps to keep it hydrated. It is full of antioxidants, so it is great for slowing down aging.
Lemon — This fruit acts as an astringent by shrinking pores and reducing oil. Loaded with vitamin C, it is a natural exfoliator that helps to remove dead skin cells that can clog your pores. It can also be used to treat hyper-pigmentation of the face by aiding in exfoliation of discolored skin.
Tomatoes – Tomato juice acts as a natural PH balancer to maintain oil balance and sebum production. The antioxidants in tomato, especially lycopene, fight cellular damage and skin inflammation. Tomato juice works as an excellent astringent. It also helps to repair dull, irritated or sunburnt skin.
The next time you wake up to find a pimple, don’t get stressed — just add these healthy items into your diet!
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