Like so many people, I struggled with acne as a teenager. I felt as though I tried every product on the market, but nothing seemed to work. As an adult, I learned that the causes of acne weren’t what I thought. Yes, hormones were a huge factor, but I now know diet played a part then and now in my current random breakouts. I think one of the most covetable beauty traits is being blessed with naturally clear skin, but we all know that even the luckiest people get a blemish once in a while. The phrase “you are what you eat” most directly applies to skin health. While it’s now proven that chocolate is NOT a culprit, nutrition still might be to blame. So, put down the greasy pizza unless you want your face looking like that!
Pesky pimples are never any fun, so you might be surprised to learn that making some small swaps in your daily diet might be all you need to do to get clearer skin. Start reading food labels to determine nutritional content of foods. Check for higher vitamin and mineral values and lower sugar, sodium and fat content. Choose foods that are high in nutrition and fiber, low in calories and contain antioxidant properties to cleanse you from the inside out. I researched acne-fighting food properties that are proven to help beat breakouts. Not only are these things good for your skin, they’re good for your figure as well. Schweet! Be sure to check out my list below and keep these healthy staples in mind the next time you hit the grocery store.
TEN FOODS to FIGHT BREAKOUTS
- Foods in high water content: This means… drink water, water and more water! Keeping your body hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself inside and out. This healthy habit shows through your skin, too. In addition to drinking your 8 glasses a day (a daily requirement in my book), eating foods high in water content like watermelon, cucumbers, and parsley will free your system of toxins as well.
- Foods with omega-3 fatty acids: This includes salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids have been known to give skin a glow almost instantly. These foods can also help reduce inflammation, so any blemishes you do have won’t be quite so red. I love salmon! There is are many ways to prepare it and change up the flavor. Adding flaxseed to a fresh fruit smoothie is another simple way to boost your omega-3 fatty acids without having to actually eat them and taste them.
- Antioxidant filled foods: It’s no surprise that antioxidant foods are great for your health. So, why wouldn’t they be good for your skin too? Antioxidant rich foods like cherries, berries, green tea and spinach attack free radicals in your body that cause skin damage and breakouts. Eating a handful of berries or spinach is a great way to add antioxidants into your diet.
- .Foods rich in selenium: Brazil nuts, almonds, onion, garlic, and whole grains are all sources of selenium. This is also a powerful antioxidant. These foods help preserve your skin’s elasticity and reduce inflammation. It should be easy to get a good dose of this a day. I love cooking with onions and garlic. Especially for dinner. Just eating a handful of almonds a day is an easy way to up your selenium intake. That should be easy to do with breakfast or lunch. Eating them solo or including them in your cereal, yogurt, or salad.
- Foods rich in vitamin C: Drink your orange juice, people! Also, melons, oranges, tomatoes, and strawberries will all boost your immune system and they will strengthen your cell walls. These foods that are packed with vitamin C will help protect your skin from acne scarring (woo hoo!) and activate healing powers to amend damaged or irritated skin. Plus, they are absolutely delicious! So, make sure you eat these special fruits!
- Foods rich in vitamin E: This category includes nuts, soybeans, almonds, leafy greens and eggs. Vitamin E rich foods also help protect your skin from scarring. An easy way to get your daily dose is by drizzling olive oil on a salad or using it to cook. I ALWAYS you use olive oil when cooking. I love the way it tastes and how it flavors and cooks up the food. Great to cook with! I also eat a lot of eggs, but usually skip the yolk every other time.
- Foods high in magnesium: These foods are great acne fighters, because magnesium helps to balance acne-inducing hormones. Try artichokes, oatmeal, brown rice, and figs to get hormonal acne under control. I eat oatmeal for breakfast and brown rice with dinner at least twice a week. Artichokes are also amazing if you’ve never had one… try it! I know they look weird, but they are easy to cook (just steam) and one of my fave foods.
- Foods rich in vitamin A: Foods that give your body vitamin A are rich in beta-carotene, which enhances the benefits of selenium (the antioxidant that preserves your skin’s elasticity and reduces inflammation). Your skin will thank you if you include carrots, bell peppers, cantaloupes, and sweet potatoes into your daily diet. So, vitamin A and selenium work together to make your skin look better. These fruits and veggies are also great for your skin tone as well!
- Low sodium foods: To avoid pimples from flaring up, try to limit the amount of processed or prepared foods in your diet. Foods that are packed with salt not only make your body bloat up like a balloon, they also wreak havoc on your skin. Substituting canned or frozen vegetables with fresh ones can make a huge difference in lowering your sodium intake. You will also feel so much better if you eat “clean foods” that are unprocessed and have low sodium.
- White foods aren’t the right foods: Foods like white bread, white rice, white refined flour, french fries, and mashed potatoes are some of the worst things to have in your diet. Refined sugar is another culprit in this category, because it makes your blood sugar levels spike, which then can cause acne breakouts. Stick to whole grains and brightly colored fruits and veggies. If anything else, just remember White foods are not the right foods if you want clear skin.
I learned so much while writing this article and hope you do too when you read it! If you only take away one thing… remember the phrase “you are what you eat.” I don’t know about you, but this list looks pretty delicious to me and it’s stuff I already like. The best part is that it will make you feel and look good inside and out!