10 Foods for Acne
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition in which excessive oil production and clogged pores lead to pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. Although men are more prone to serious acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, symptoms generally last longer in women. Though acne is not considered serious, it can cause pain and, in severe cases, scarring. In addition to positive hygiene and medications, when necessary, certain foods may help reduce acne.
Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids -- healthy fats that support heart health and reduced inflammation. Dr. Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist and author of "The Acne Prescription: The Perricone Program for Clear and Healthy Skin at Any Age," recommends omega-3 fats as useful acne-reducing dietary tools. For maximum benefits, incorporate fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines, into your diet regularly.
Flaxseed contains rich amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Since ground flaxseed is more easily absorbed than whole flaxseed, purchase pre-ground flaxseed or grind whole seeds in a coffee grinder for best results. Flax oil may provide similar benefits, according to Perricone.
Walnuts contain valuable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and are rich in protein and fiber. Add chopped, diced, whole or ground walnuts to baked goods, cereal, yogurt and smoothies.
Whole grains are rich in nutrients, fiber and glucose -- your body's main energy source. As low-glycemic foods, whole grains affect blood sugar levels mildly. According to an Australian study published in the "Journal of Dermatological Science" in November 2007, low-glycemic foods may help reduce acne. In the study, 31 male acne patients, ages 15 to 25, consumed a diet containing 45 percent low-glycemic carbohydrates or a diet in which glycemic index was uncontrolled for 12 weeks. By the study's end, the participants who consumed the lower-glycemic diet had fewer acne symptoms. For potentially similar benefits, replace enriched carbohydrates with whole grains.
Carrots contain rich amounts of carotenoids -- a type of vitamin A that provides exceptional antioxidant benefits. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin A may provide effects similar to those of retinoid drugs -- medications used to treat acne. Enjoy fresh, cooked or juiced carrots regularly for maximum benefits.
Avocados are valuable sources of fiber and healthy, unsaturated fat. Avocados also provide anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit acne-sufferers, according to Perricone. He recommends replacing saturated fat sources, such as butter and cheese, with avocado in sandwiches and salads.
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and mustard greens, also provide rich amounts of carotenoids. One half-cup serving of boiled spinach or kale provides more than double most Americans' recommended daily intake of vitamin A, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Eat a variety of leafy greens for maximum benefits.
High-fat protein sources can increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Lean sources, such as skinless chicken and turkey, however, promote cardiovascular health and blood sugar balance. Poultry is also rich in zinc, which may help alleviate acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Replace red and processed meats, such as hamburger and bacon, with lean poultry routinely for best results.
Sweet potatoes provide valuable amounts of fiber and nutrients, including carotenoids. They are also lower in glycemic index than processed carbohydrates, such as instant potatoes, white bread and sweets. Enjoy sweet potatoes baked, mashed or roasted, keeping the skin, which is rich in nutrients.
Vegetable soup is a versatile food that suits an acne-alleviating diet. Make your own soup, incorporating vitamin A-rich vegetables, such as leafy greens and carrots. One cup of canned vegetable soup supplies more than 100 percent of most adults' daily recommended vitamin A intake, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Adding poultry, salmon or tuna to your soup adds zinc. Salmon and tuna also provide omega-3 fatty acids.
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