A Diet Plan for Clear Skin
The skin is the largest bodily organ. As a protective outer layer, it helps prevent harmful bacteria from entering your body and reduces risk for disease. The skin is also a valued aspect of your physical appearance in the United States. In addition to proper daily hygiene and medical treatments when necessary, the American Skin Association (ASA) recommends a nutrient-rich dietary lifestyle as an important means of promoting clear, healthy skin.
A diet that promotes clear skin involves plentiful amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants--disease-fighting nutrients. The ASA also suggests a well-balanced diet, or healthy foods from all food groups, including fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat. Adequate water intake, or 8 cups daily, is also recommended.
Although a broad range of nutrients and foods is important for overall health, certain nutrients are known to benefit healthy skin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), regular consumption of zinc and vitamin A may help alleviate acne. An amino acid (building block of protein) called L-carnitine may also provide benefits. The ASA recommends plentiful intake of the vitamins B1, B6, C, D and niacin for best skin-enhancing results.
In general, natural foods provide more nutritional benefits than processed foods. By consuming a diet based upon whole foods and lush in fruits and vegetables, you can obtain sufficient amounts of healthy skin-promoting nutrients. Valuable food sources of vitamin A include carrot juice, carrots, leafy greens, beef liver and squash. Copious amounts of vitamin C are present in citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, papaya, cantaloupe, mangoes, tomatoes, spinach, red bell peppers and broccoli. Zinc can be reaped from oysters, crab, pork shoulder, chicken, beans, nuts, cheese and milk. Whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, spelt, wild rice, brown rice and popcorn, provide rich amounts of B vitamins and numerous helpful minerals. Dairy products, vegetables, legumes and red meat provide L-carnitine. Vitamin D is found in cod liver oil, fish and fortified fruit juice, dairy and soy products.
Numerous foods have a reputation for causing skin problems. Though people have reported that particular foods, such as chocolate and nuts, exacerbate acne symptoms, the UMMC suggests that no scientific evidence upholds these notions. However, food allergies may contribute to skin abnormalities. For this reason, the UMMC suggests avoiding foods that seem to cause symptoms and seeking your doctor's guidance if an allergy is suspected. According to research published in the "Journal of the Academy of American Dermatology," milk may trigger acne outbreaks in children. Researchers speculate that the hormones and other chemicals added to milk may contribute to acne symptoms. The ASA suggests limiting or avoiding alcohol as it has been known to cause reddened cheeks, enlarged pores and yellow skin tone.
A diet based on nutrient-rich foods can promote smooth, vibrant skin. In addition, the UMMC suggests a low-glycemic diet, or a diet with mild impact on blood sugar levels, as a potential means of reducing the occurrence of pimples, blackheads and clogged pores. Replacing processed carbohydrates, such as white flour and added sugars, with whole grain equivalents can support blood sugar balance. Fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods are also known to have a mellowing effect on blood sugar. Since soft drinks are high on the glycemic index, opting for water, which promotes healthy skin, may also help. For best results and for guidance regarding severe acne, your doctor or dermatologist's guidance is recommended.
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