Nutritional Therapy for Acne
Many people have been bothered at one time or another by the occasional, or maybe even chronic, acne breakout. Nutrition can be a natural and effective approach to controlling acne. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and essential fats all contribute to a clear, glowing complexion. Fortunately, it is easy to incorporate a variety of important acne-fighting nutrients into your everyday menus with some easy and delicious food choices. Here are five of the top nutrients for fighting acne, and some of the appetizing foods that feature them.
Folic acid, or folate, is a nutrient that plays a vital role in making new cells. New cell growth contributes to fighting acne and provides for bright, clear skin. Cantaloupe, beans, avocados and green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, are rich sources of this acne-fighting nutrient. Folic acid can also be taken as a supplement. It is a water-soluble vitamin, with the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) being 200 micrograms for adult males, and 180 micrograms for adult females.
Pyridoxine, or Vitamin B6, helps the body produce other chemicals that fight infection, which can be an additional challenge in treating acne. Some delicious food sources that are full of this acne-fighting nutrient are sunflower seeds, walnuts, eggs, carrots, avocados and whole grains. Nuts and seeds are great on their own for a quick and healthy snack, and add taste and texture to a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. A water soluble vitamin, Vitamin B6 can also be taken as a supplement. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adult males is 2.0 milligrams daily and 1.6 milligrams daily for adult females.
Beta-carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A. One of its primary functions, in addition to its properties as a prevention of night blindness, is the maintenance of skin cells. Foods that are packed with this super acne-fighting power are usually red, orange and deep yellow. Some tasty examples include carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots, peaches and mangoes. For some foods, preparation is important too. For example, cooked carrots, with the addition of a little fat, such as butter or olive oil, supply more available beta-carotene than raw. One thing to note is that Vitamin A is stored in the body, so large amounts taken over time can be dangerous. A healthy way to get this nutrient is to enjoy it in its natural plant form.
The main role of Vitamin E is as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells from free radicals, which lead to cell damage. A diet high in antioxidants has been shown to fight infection, reduce acne and help prevent future breakouts. Vitamin E also enhances the effects of Vitamin A.
Vitamin E, or tocopherol, can prevent and reduce scar formation both internally, and externally when applied directly to the skin. This fat soluble vitamin is found in whole grains, seeds, nuts, avocados, and brown, red and black rice. A super antioxidant, Vitamin E can also be taken as a supplement. It is usually supplied in strengths from 100 to 1,500 International Units (IU). It is essentially non-toxic.
The good fats that the body needs to maintain a healthy balance are Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. These good fats are necessary for maintenance of the immune system, brain function, and keeping the skin, hair and nails glowing and healthy. Not only are these essential fatty acids acne-fighting, they also help prevent premature aging of the skin. Some of the best food choices to find these acne-fighting good fats are cold pressed olive oil, canola oil, hemp oil, and cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines.
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