There is nothing worse than acne that sips your confidence. On top of that, pimples take it on themselves to surface when an important occasion or event is just around the corner. Unfortunately, we are not blessed with personal fairy godmothers who could treat the pimple popups in a jiffy.
Therefore, we are left to worry about taking all the necessary preventative measures. And in the case of an acne breakout, we end up trying everything and anything to make a pimple go. One such measure pertains to eating carefully to prevent triggering acne. While food does not directly help treat acne, it certainly influences acne breakouts.
The link between acne and diet
Diet is not the direct culprit behind acne. Several experts are divided on the correlation between acne and diet. However, what’s certain is that the diet certainly influences the development of acne by impacting hormonal balance in the body.
Hormones are culprits that sit at the heart of most of the health concerns including acne. Any disturbances in their levels, for example, during pregnancy or puberty, can lead to the formation of acne by increasing sebum production and release. Dirt on top of this sebum clogs the pores. Over and above that, dead skin cells clog the pores further.
All this sets the foundation for acne, which is how acne and diet are associated. Research confirms this link, as it indicates that a healthy diet can help slash the risk of acne. What’s more is that a study points out that eating certain foods can either aggravate or reduce the odds of having acne.
Acne diet: Foods that you should include to your meal plan
Since acne and diet are strongly linked, here is a look at foods that you should add to your meal chart:
Include Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are commonly found in protein-enriched sources such as eggs, and fishes. The nutrients pose anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce fight inflammation, which is a leading cause of acne. Research also indicates that people who eat food enriched with omega-3 are able to notice lesser severity in their acne’s condition.
Food items that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, chia seeds, soybeans, cod liver oil, oyster, and fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardine, and herring.
Have Antioxidant enriched foods
Foods that boast a high profile of antioxidants are essential to add to the acne diet. Antioxidants are able to fight free radical damage and the subsequent oxidative stress. The body’s natural antioxidant defense system is powered by an enzyme named superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT). They maintain the redox balance by maintaining the production of reactive oxygen species.
Low levels of antioxidants, however, promote oxidative stress that encourages acne. This explains why you need to take antioxidant-enriched food items. Food sources that are packed with antioxidants are dark chocolates, pecan nuts, cilantro, raisins, berries, green tea, tomatoes, and broccoli to name a few.
Limit dairy intake
Researchers highlight that dairy products can swell the acne problem. This is because dairy cows are given hormonal injections for increased milk production. Resultantly, the consumption of milk or dairy products can lead to a hormonal imbalance in your body. This sets the foundation for acne.
In this context, you need to avoid dairy items. These include almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, and tiger nut milk.
Keeping sugar at arm’s length is a common advice that is passed on to people who have acne or are trying to prevent any further breakouts. Studies also see the potential link between sugar intake and acne. It doesn’t mean that eating a candy will gift you a pimple. In fact, what matters is the amount of sugar that you consume in a day.
Keep foods with a high glycemic index at bay
Foods that boast a high-glycemic index promote an insulin spike and also amp up the sugar levels in your blood. This triggers fluctuations in hormonal levels and also welcomes inflammation. Both of these factors are common predecessors of acne.
In this regard, you need to cut down food items such as white rice, potato chips, cakes, pretzels, processed breakfast cereals, and cakes. You can replace these high-glycemic indexed foods with low-glycemic index foods such as whole grains, fruits, sweet potato, and vegetables.
Take foods that are rich in Zinc
Zinc is an important micronutrient. It plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of your skin. It also protects against bacteria that cause acne. Studies have dug out that people who have acne are often found to have low levels of zinc. When zinc is taken orally, it helps reduce acne redness and inflammation significantly.
It is, however, crucial to bear in mind that zinc supplements should not be taken without consulting a physician. This is because vitamins and minerals need to be taken into controlled amounts. Any excess or deficiency can culminate in serious health concerns.
Food items that are rich in zinc include turkey, lentils, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, cashews, beef, and seafood such as crab and oysters.
Probiotics are thought to curtail inflammation in the gut. This, in turn, helps lessen acne. As per a 2011 study, the gut microflora may impact inflammation in the rest of the body. This spirals the risk of acne breakouts.
In the paper, the scientists wrote, “There appears to be more than enough supportive evidence to suggest that gut microbes, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract itself, are contributing factors in the acne process.”
You can add probiotics to your diet by having yogurt, dark chocolate, pickles, tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut, microalgae, and miso soup.
Include Vitamin-rich foods
You also need to take vitamin-rich foods item. In the specific case of an acne preventing diet, you need to amp up your intake of vitamin A, D, and E. Vitamin A or retinol helps fight acne by treating inflammation. A study found out that the participants who applied vitamin A topically were able to treat acne inflammation effectively.
Research has also dug out that people who have acne exhibit low levels of vitamin D. Another study further uncovered that individuals who took vitamin D supplements were able to see an improvement in their acne symptoms.
Lastly, you need vitamin E and C as they both assist in fighting acne-causing bacteria. In this regard, you need to add food items such as olive oil, spinach, avocado, egg yolk, tuna, mushrooms, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and salmon.
Add watermelon and cucumber
You need to add these two items to your diet as well as they help to maintain your skin’s hydration. Rebecca Kazin, MD, assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology, and associate director at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery explains the case.
She says, “Maintaining skin’s hydration level is helpful for any skin condition. Patients often dry out their skin in an effort to treat acne, then pile on rich moisturizers, which gives them acne and dry skin.” These water-rich foods help maintain a healthy skin. In addition to these, don’t forget to take lots of water.
Briefly, these food items help to reduce acne. Keep in mind that it is important to include antioxidant-enriched foods, water-rich foods, probiotics, and vitamin-powered foods in your diet. Stay away from sugar, foods with a high-glycemic index, and dairy items.