The truth to a diet for clear skin is not revolutionary: in fact, a simple, healthy diet is not just what the doctor ordered - it’s also the key to acne-free skin. So, you may not find this a shocking diet outline, but that doesn’t make it easy to stick to. It’s also not a one-size-fits-all - a diet that works for a friend may not suit you perfectly, so it’s up to you to experiment to find the perfect healthy balance for your own skin and body. Keep a food diary to help you track and make adjustments to your diet. Remember that moderation, patience and discipline are key to carving out the best meal plan to lead to beautiful, healthy, clear skin.
Drink more water
Staying hydrated is nothing more than Nutrition 101. After all, your body is 60 percent water, so it’s no surprise you need to drink enough water to optimize physical processes. Drinking water is also key to consuming the correct amount of daily calories - often we mistake hunger for thirst, so when in doubt drink water first. Water is the foundation of healthy and clear skin, so aim for 8 glasses of water every day.
Cut back on sugar
Unfortunately, sugar is in just about everything we eat, all day long, making it difficult to avoid. Keep your daily sugar intake within the recommended two to four servings of the fructose found in fruit, and avoid sugars found elsewhere, like in refined carbohydrates and candy aisle sweets. Sugar, particularly from certain sources, can exacerbate acne - and cause a whole host of other health problems.
Cut back on alcohol
Most alcoholic drinks are super sugary, and thus bad for you. Then there’s the simple and stark fact that alcohol is literally a poison you are choosing to put in your body (and probably paying good money for) that can cause heart disease, stroke and dementia - just to name a few nasty side-effects. Forget your skin - just about every organ in your body hates alcohol. So if you do drink, do so in moderation - and drink lots of water to mitigate alcohol’s effects.
Avoid processed foods
There’s a lot of confusion over the word “processed”, so understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean “bad”. All food is “processed” one way or another, so when doing your grocery shopping, the main thing is to examine closely the ingredients and nutrition labeling.
An easier distinction to remember is that processed foods tend to contain more sugars, salts and fats than we need, while fresh ingredients you purchase and prepare yourself at home tend to be healthier because you can control what you put in and avoid preservatives and additives. It may seem difficult and more costly at first, but once you have stocked your kitchen with the basic cooking ingredients you routinely need, you’ll find that cooking at home isn’t just healthier, it’s also cheaper. You’ll never return to the frozen food aisle again.
Ditch dairy (but keep Greek yogurt)
Dairy is high in sugar content (yes, lactose is also a sugar, just like glucose and fructose). Specifically, though, dairy consumption has been linked to increased acne. Although dairy is high in nutrients our bodies love - like calcium and protein - food from animals may not be the ideal source of protein, as study after study has linked animal-based proteins to higher incidents of cancer. The science isn’t totally conclusive, so you don’t have to swear off meat and cheese forever, but certainly doctors now agree that decreasing your intake of animal proteins in favor of more vegetables is a good idea, for your skin and otherwise.
You don’t have to strike dairy from your list altogether: try a sugar-free (or as close to sugar-free as possible) Greek yogurt as a source of calcium, protein and probiotics.
Green leafy vegetables
Recent fad diets like the alkaline diet have advocated for regulating your body’s pH by consuming a greater amount of “alkaline foods” and reducing your intake of “acidic” foods. The truth is, our bodies already regulate our internal pH, but that doesn’t mean this diet trend isn’t on to something with its promotion of more veg. Proponents recommend beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers and spinach. It’s not rocket science - the more vegetables you incorporate into your diet, the clearer your skin and the healthier your body.
Like vegetables, the more antioxidants you can eat, the better - especially if you struggle with acne. A diet rich in antioxidants can decrease mild to moderate acne. Good thing berries are so delicious - try blueberries, blackberries, cherries and goji berries.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest kind of chocolate you can try. (It’s relatively low in sugar and depending on the kind, contains very little to no dairy.) It also contains zinc, another acne-fighting nutrient. Happily, it’s also delicious, so go ahead and treat yourself (in moderation, of course).
Oysters are famous aphrodisiacs, but their zinc content is through the roof, so depending on what you’re looking for, oysters can meet all your needs in one meal (wink). Just make sure your oysters are sustainably farmed.
Not a shellfish fan? No worries, you can find zinc in plenty of other places. For your daily dose of zinc, sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top of a salad or munch on them at work as a snack.
Try incorporating green tea into your diet - it’s rich in polyphenols (poly-what?). Don’t worry about pronouncing them, just know that polyphenols increase blood-flow and oxygen to the skin, improving its overall look, feel and most importantly, health.
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Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.