Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Food That Clears Your Acne

Food That Clears Your Acne

What was once thought to be only a physiological response to an increase in growth factor signaling the onset of puberty, acne vulgaris is prevalent in epidemic-like proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 million Americans, or almost 85 percent of individuals aged 12 to 24, suffers from acne. Certain nutritional factors typical of a westernized diet may worsen acne. On the contrary, a diet rich in lean protein sources, such as fish, low glycemic index complex carbohydrate foods and small amounts of healthy unsaturated fats may improve acne.

Vegetarian-Based Diet

A research study published in 2002 in the "Archives of Dermatology" examined the dietary habits of over 1,200 individuals living in a village on Kitava Island, Papua New Guinea. None of these individuals had (at the time of the study), or ever had suffered from acne. Of the 1,200 individuals included in this examination, 300 were teenagers and young adults ages 15 to 25 years old. The people of Kitava Island are extremely physically active and consume a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet (about 70 percent of total calories from carbohydrates) but few animal products, such as dairy products and red meat. The carbohydrates they consume are low glycemic index, mostly vegetables, roots (such as tubers, turnips, parsnips, yams) and some fruits. They consume few refined carbohydrate foods (chips, candy, white flour products). This diet keeps insulin levels low. Elevated insulin levels (and other androgen hormones) are connected with acne per several research studies, including one published in 2009 in the "Medical Clinics of North America" on acne and systemic disease.

Eat Whole, Unprocessed Foods

It has been debated widely whether or not diet plays a role in acne. Per several research studies, including one published in 2008 in the "Journal of Dermatological Science" food items likely do not directly cause acne, however the chemicals released during the metabolism of some food items may influence factors that exacerbate acne. In addition, hormones and synthetics used to enhance processed foods in the United States may aggravate acne. Therefore, for optimal health as well as potentially clearer skin, consume as many plant-based, fiber-rich foods as possible, including at least five to 10 daily servings of colorful fruits and vegetables, plenty of whole grains, root vegetables and legumes.

Emphasis on Healthy Fats

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically omega-3 fats, play a role in reducing inflammation in the body. Acne is an inflammatory response. Therefore choosing healthy fats such as olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds and avocados most often may be beneficial. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, limit total fat to less than 35 percent of calories, consume few or no trans fats and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. Eat oily fish or fish rich in omega-3 fats (such as salmon, mackerel and halibut) three times a weekly. Though not proven to cause acne, choose water over caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Because high glycemic index foods and beverages, such as sweetened beverages, may increase circulating insulin, avoid them as much as possible.

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