While the “perfect” diet does not exist, I think you know by now that refined foods high in sugar and dairy are not the best foods for acne.
However, the “ideal” skin diet does include adequate hydration, a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and omega-rich foods.
By nourishing your body with those foods, you’ll be consuming lots of skin-boosting antioxidants, amino acids, and good essential fats.
Cold-water fatty fish contain omega-3 essential fatty acids. These essential fats must come from your diet because your body cannot produce them on its own. They are a prime candidate for acne protocols because they keep the skin youthful and supple. Omega-3’s reduce inflammation, which helps protect your skin’s collagen, and thus, its structure. These essential fats also work to strengthen the skin’s barrier function by trapping in moisture. This is critical for acne-sufferers because a lack of moisture contributes to the skin overproducing acne-triggering sebum.
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is cold-water fatty fish including wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, and high-quality cod liver or fish oil.
Staying on the topic of healthy fats, avocados are another great option if you eat plant-based. Avocados help promote healthy skin thanks to their rich content of good fats and vitamins C and E. These beneficial fats also help keep your skin flexible, supple, and moisturized. They have additional compounds that help protect your skin from sun damage as well.
A member of the allium family, garlic is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral. These properties make garlic a key nutrient when it comes to repairing the gut (which is essential for clearing acne) because they help to kill bad bacteria that could be wreaking havoc in your gut. Garlic also contains potent liver detoxifying nutrients and helps support the immune system. Always add garlic at the end of cooking to keep as many anti-microbial properties alive and well (heating destroys them).
Probiotics are the various strains of good bacteria that you want in the digestive tract in large quantities. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food for the probiotics to grow and thrive. The two work together to do a number of jobs in the body–– including protecting your skin.
A damaged digestive system depleted of beneficial gut bacteria, though, can lead to acne and other skin problems. For example, probiotics are particularly important for hormonal acne-sufferers because your microbiome is involved in processing and eliminating estrogen.
When your gut microbiome is balanced, your skin’s pH levels are restored, irritation is reduced, and dryness is diminished. Probiotics hydrate and repair your skin by working to produce hyaluronic acid (HA). A natural substance in the body, HA helps strengthen the skin.
Even though you can take a supplement, it’s important to also include many different types of fermented foods in your diet like the coconut yogurt found in this pumpkin pie parfait. This ensures you’re eating a variety of probiotic strains. Other sources of probiotics are sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, pickles, apple cider vinegar, olives, tempeh, and miso.
There are a plethora of healthy components within turmeric, but the most popular is curcumin. This is an incredible antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects as it can help with acne by reducing redness, soothing breakouts, and brightening the skin. If you want more of this powerhouse in your life, try out this simple vegan golden milk or spiced red lentil soup.
Goji berries, wild blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and dark cherries are all examples of dark pigmented berries that are high in another important nutrient for clear skin– antioxidants. These naturally occur in food and help reduce the risk of oxidation in the body by fighting off free radicals that damage the skin and promote aging and disease. The most common are:
To make sure you’re getting a variety of antioxidants, it’s important to eat a rainbow of food.
Considered the celebration potatoes, sweet potatoes and other orange-fleshed vegetables are great nutrients for the skin and gut health. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. This antioxidant can help fight off acne and scars because it stimulates cell turnover, decreases oil production, and then clears your pores. Vitamin A also reduces signs of aging, brightens the skin, and protects your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Great sprinkled on just about anything or added to smoothies like the Shamrock Shake, pumpkin seeds are rejuvenating to the skin. These little green seeds are loaded with zinc and if you’ve taken the birth control pill, you may be deficient in this mineral. Oral contraceptives contain copper, which lowers zinc levels in the body because they compete with each other for absorption.
So increasing your zinc can help control inflammation and assist in creating new cells to repair wounds. Since it’s also a key player in cell production and turnover, zinc can help reduce the amount of oil produced by the skin. Bonus? It also helps balance hormones, which can be a big player in acne.
Research shows that regular consumption of green tea has several health benefits, especially for the skin. The highest grade of green tea is matcha– made from grinding young green tea leaves into a bright green powder. It’s a lovely source of the detoxifier chlorophyll, which helps to detoxify your body and reduce its toxic load. In turn, your skin reaps the benefits. Also, the polyphenols found in matcha can reduce inflammation and fight certain types of bacteria that increase breakouts.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve probably seen me post about my love of matcha tea. And you’ll know why I adore it when you try my delicious matcha latte too.