Keeping your skin fresh and healthy is often harder than “experts” are making it sound. Not only do you have to think about what you’re putting on your skin, but you also need to watch what you’re putting in your mouth.
So I figured I’d write a post and point out some great foods that help clear your skin and keep it healthy and acne-free. When I started exploring ways to get rid of my own acne, I remember that I had problems knowing what to eat.
I knew that the wrong foods could cause breakouts, and there were plenty of articles online about what NOT to eat. But not so many telling me what I actually could eat.
While I can admit that I’m sometimes slacking with my diet, I must say that I’m much more aware of what I’m eating today, and really, just thinking about it more often tends to lead to a few more healthy meals being cooked than before.
So while it may seem hard to include all these foods into your diet, just know that every little bit helps. Start slow and work your way towards more healthy meals. Eventually, you’ll hopefully see a difference in both your skin, overall health and perhaps even your weight.
Here are some really awesome foods to eat, to increase your chances of ridding your skin of those pesky pimples!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Let’s address a common factoid. Fat and oily foods do not necessarily cause oily skin. Unless you slab them all over your face, of course.
It all comes boils to which kind of fats you consume. There are bad fats (trans-fats, dairy) and then there are good fats, such as omega-3 (or fish oil).
Omega-3 is responsible for maintaining a healthy cell membrane, by keeping harmful objects away and making sure it holds water, thus leading to a hydrated skin. It also reduces inflammation (pimples, basically) and doesn’t affect your insulin level considerably.
Healthy omega-3-rich foods include:
- Fish. There’s one rule you need to follow when picking which fish to eat – the more oil, the better. Some oiliest fish are salmon, gemfish, trout, flathead, barramundi, snapper and John Dory. Canned variants of them tend to contain additional oil.
- Nuts. Walnuts, butternuts, black walnuts and pecans are the richest among nuts when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids. Some less nutritious nuts include pistachios, hazelnuts and cashews.
- Eggs. Omega-3 eggs are more than just a marketing scheme. The parent is fed flax seeds (which are rich in omega-3) and sometimes fish oil. This increases the omega-3 fatty acids in the egg yolk.
- Flax seeds. Seeds that chickens are fed to produce omega-3 eggs. They are very rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), which lower the risk of heart disease. Flax seeds also balances the skin’s pH-level and improves your skin’s elasticity.
- Soy beans. Apart from being a good source of omega-3, soybeans can also provide your body with other important nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, riboflavin and folate. Soybeans also contain omega-6 fatty acids. Eating too much omega-6 can cause inflammation, so consume them moderately.
- Navy beans. One single cup of navy beans is all you need to make sure you get your daily recommended amount of omega-3. Navy beans also have a high fiber content, and are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians.
- Mustard seeds. According to a study from 2016, mustard seeds have shown to inhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-cancer, antifungal and wound healing properties, as well as biofumigation. However, more research is needed to reach a conclusion.
- Wild rice. Wild rice isn’t really a grain, but a grass. It contains both omega-3 and omega-6, and contains about twice the fiber and proteins as brown rice. Wild rice is also quite low in calories.
- Chia seeds. Chia is the Mayan word for “strength”, and the chia seeds were an important source of nutrition for the Aztecs and Mayans. By being both antioxidant and containing zinc, it’s a really good source of omega-3 for acne sufferers.
- Sacha inchi seeds. Also known as “Inca peanut”, sacha inchi seeds are of quite similar composition as the flax seeds. It is high in alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) as well as linoleic acids, and studies suggest that sacha inchi is high in tryptophan, which is an amino acid that’s crucial in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in our nervous system that helps to regulate our appetite.
You can also buy supplements from health stores and supermarkets, which help you get your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re usually quite cheap and in most cases you only need to take 1-2 pills per day, depending on brand.
Did you know that there are over 10,000 different types of critters crawling inside and on top of our bodies?
Did your skin suddenly start to itch? Mine too.
But it’s true! We’ve got microorganisms living everywhere – and we should be happy about it. Probiotics, and other kinds of microorganisms, ensure that our skin is healthy and happy. In fact, they take care of our overall health and well-being. They take care of our microflora on our skin, keeping it balanced and acne-free.
These are some super probiotic foods you can eat:
As you can see, many of them have Asian names. My favorite is Kimchi and I suggest you have yourself a bite. It’s so darn tasty!
You can also find probiotic supplements in your local health store or online. Anyway… did I mention that I really, really recommend the Kimchi?
While zinc is normally used as an effective on-skin (topical) treatment, it can also be taken orally in an attempt to fight the most stubborn cystic acne.
However, it would seem that traditional acne treatments are more effective than zinc. In a study from 2001, 30mg zinc was about 17% less effective than a 100mg dose of minocycline, which is a common acne medication.
The takeaway here, though, is that zinc actually did help. Just not as well as the traditional treatment. So adding oral zinc supplements to your diet is actually a good idea, in my opinion.
However, consult your doctor before doing so, as it can get quite dangerous if you overdose on zinc. (Yes, that’s a real thing)
Vegetables & Fruits
Most fruits and vegetables are potent antioxidants and help fight free radicals, which break down collagen in your skin. They’re also packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, and can promote a healthy balance of hormone and insulin levels.
Additionally, orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes can help your body with the regeneration of collagen.
I guess I don’t need to go further into specifics what vegetables and fruits are (I assume you’re already familiar). However, these are some recommendations based on their nutritional value and benefits for acne-prone skin:
Adding greens to your diet comes with way more benefits than just getting a more beautiful skin, such as weight loss and lower cholesterol, so be sure to eat plenty of them!
Food For Thought
When people think about getting rid of acne, they almost always think about things they can put on their skin. However, regulating what you put into your body is just as important and can often lead to more benefits than just a healthy skin.
I’ve introduced you to four different foods that help clear your skin (omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, zinc and vegetables/fruits). I really recommend that you explore these kinds of foods deeper, since the examples I’ve listed are just a fraction of what’s actually out there.
Finally, leading a healthy lifestyle may help you with acne, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes there may be another underlying cause. However, one way of knowing that is to actually test it out yourself. You’ll eat healthy food and hopefully improve your acne at the same time, so there’s no real downside, right?
What’s your own personal experience with changed diet and acne? Do you notice variations in breakouts when you switch up your diet significantly? I’d love to hear about it, so please post a comment below!
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