We already know that certain foods support specific body parts and functions. For example, vitamin D and calcium support healthy bones. Omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish, help with cardiovascular health. So what should we eat in order to get healthy skin that glows from the inside out? That’s a good question.
If you’re wondering which foods are good for your skin and which can trigger acne breakouts, you’re certainly not alone. Your skin is a reflection of your health; a nutritious and well-balanced diet that keeps you healthy internally will keep your physical appearance in tip-top shape, too.
What should you avoid?
1. Sugars, Sweeteners, Syrups
Certain foods can make your blood sugar skyrocket in no time at all. When this happens, the body releases insulin to compensate for the excess. If, throughout the day, you’re constantly snacking on sugary snacks such as candy, soda, donuts and cake, your bloodstream will become saturated with insulin. In a 2007 study, two groups consumed foods with a high GI and a low GI. The high GI group showed more occurrences of acne than the low GI group. Sugars, sweeteners and syrups are almost pure sugar and easy to overdo, and once the cravings start it can be difficult to consciously break the cycle. The more dependent your body is on sugar, the harder it is to kick the habit.
Cereals are a breakfast staple in most households because of its convenience and appeal to the younger generation. A big part of that appeal is its flavor; what do most cereals have in common? They are very high in sugar, up to 56% sugar in fact. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Mashmallow Froot Loops, Frosted Rice Crispies, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and even so-called healthier options such as ‘Riasin Bran and Special K are packed with sugar. Sometimes people combine it with chocolate milk and add honey or marshmallows toppings. As if plain cereal isn’t bad enough. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Soda is notorious for being high in sugar but drink powders are just as bad, if not worse. Lemonade powder, Gatorade mix, instant coffee, cocoa mix powder and lemon ice tea powders are up to 95% sugar. If you drink soft drinks and drink powders 3-5 times a day, that’s as much as 100g of sugar a day from beverages alone.
Dairy and acne are related because milk contains components that affect the hormone, testosterone. Testosterone stimulates oil glands in the skin. Since acne is caused by the clogging of hair follicles with oil and dead skin cells, you don’t want to be consuming anything that will trigger or stimulate the oil glands more than necessary.
Dairy is not your only source of calcium and vitamin D, so don’t think that you will be deficient in these nutrients if you cut out dairy. To replace the nutrients that you would normally get from dairy, you can try leafy greens such as broccoli and kale.
Some people insist that fats do not cause acne, but fatty acids in foods affect inflammation. When there is too much inflammation in the body, it shows on the skin in the form of discolorations, acne and other skin conditions. If you deep fry your beef in canola oil and add a dollop of butter on top, in addition to a side of buttery rolls and cake with lots of icing for dessert, don’t be surprised if you start breaking out. Consuming too many fats, particularly in an imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is common nowadays, so eating more fish rich in omega-3s such as mackerel and salmon, as well as fish-oil supplements, are recommended.