Diet for the Complexion
Acne occurs when hair follicles, plugged with oil and dead skin cells become inflamed. This inflammatory condition is most common in teenagers going through significant hormonal changes but can last or even start well into adulthood. While many believe that certain foods like pizza and chocolate can cause acne, evidence does not support this. Some foods however, might contribute to acne in certain individuals. Generally speaking however, your diet can play a role in promoting healthy skin.
Keeping your skin well-hydrated will benefit your complexion, according to author and natural health expert Dr. Andrew Weil. Conventional medical wisdom calls for at least eight, 8-oz glasses of water daily.
Considerations on Food Allergies
Food allergies might play a role in adult acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Common food allergens include wheat, soy, corn, dairy, eggs, fish and shellfish, and peanuts. Food allergies and sensitivities might not always be obvious. Keeping track of what you eat and your acne outbreaks might help you identify problematic foods. Trying an elimination diet might also help--this involves eliminating a certain type of food from your diet for a set period of time and introducing it back in gradually to note if it has any effect on your condition. A doctor can provide guidance on executing this type of diet.
Regulating Blood Sugar
Some doctors believe a diet rich in foods that rank high on the glycemic index--an index that ranks foods based on how quickly they convert to glucose in the body--might contribute to acne, according to the UMMC. Avoiding white flour foods and sugary treats such as cookies, ice cream and candies can keep blood sugar levels steady. You can also contribute to a slower release of glucose by eating carbohydrate-rich foods in combination with fats and proteins rather than by themselves.
Acne results from inflammation and Weil recommends following an anti-inflammatory diet for this condition. This entails cutting back on animal proteins, which contain saturated fats and other substances that trigger the inflammatory response in the body. Beneficial proteins include whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans.
Other inflammation-triggering foods include the aforementioned carbohydrates and oils rich in polyunsaturated fats such as corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower oil. Increase your intake of good fats that combat inflammation such as fatty fish, olive and canola oil, walnuts, and flax seeds.
Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables also combat inflammation--eat the full range of colors to get all the available kinds.
Considerations for Milk
A study published in a 2005 edition of the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology" found that women who consumed three or more servings of milk every day--regardless of type--were 22 percent more likely to have had severe acne as a teenager while those who drank two or more glasses of skim milk every day were 44 percent more likely to report severe teenage acne. The study also found that cream cheese, cottage cheese, sherbet and breakfast drinks contributed to acne.
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