Acne and Nutrition with Charlene Wang

Hi, I’m Charlene Wang, Integrative Registered Dietitian and Certified Level 5 Healing Touch Practitioner. I’m going to talk about how to address acne with nutrition. If you feel like you’ve tried just about everything to clear up your acne, and nothing seems to be working, why not go back to the basics? Your diet? Affecting up to 50 million Americans each year, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. What are the top three foods linked to acne that you’ll want to avoid? Number #1: High glycemic, simple carbohydrates. Number #2: Dairy and Number #3: Fried foods, none of which are helping your complexion. In fact, studies have found that these foods stimulate the production of hormones that can cause you to create and excrete excess oil from your oil glands. Let’s discuss those three foods in detail. Number #1: High glycemic simple carbohydrates. The glycemic index is a system based on ranking foods on a scale of 1 to 100, based on the food’s effect on the blood sugar levels. Ideally you want to eat in a manner that keeps your blood sugar nice and steady. When your blood sugar spikes, it causes your body to release a hormone called insulin. Having excess insulin in your bloodstream causes your oil glands to secrete excess oils. The second food group you want to avoid is dairy. Milk contains a component related to the hormone testosterone, that may stimulate the glands in your skin, setting the stage for acne. The third type of food you’ll want to get rid of is fried food. We all know that fried chicken and french fries aren’t doing our health a favor. But if you’re prone to acne, you may want to reconsider taking another bite of fried food. So then what are the foods that you want to implement in your diet to decrease acne? The top three are omega-3 fatty acids, also known as the good fat, an adequate intake of water, and low glycemic complex carbohydrates. Some studies largely support the increase of omega-3s and the decrease of acne to be relevant. Really common sources of plant-based omega-3s are found in flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, avocados, flaxseed oil and olive oil. Some of the most common sources of animal derived omega-3 fatty acids come from wild caught salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, cod, you can even get them in pasture raised egg yolks. The second type of food that you’re going to want to increase in your diet is low glycemic complex carbohydrates. Notice, we’re going to the low glycemic. Low glycemic means a food that doesn’t spike your blood sugar. But what’s a complex carbohydrate? Think of a carbohydrate sourced food in its most wholesome unprocessed and natural form. For instance, for whole grains, you want to select brown rice, steel-cut oats, and quinoa. For legumes, opt for black beans, chickpeas, or mung beans, and for fresh fruits and vegetables, well, it’s best to eat it in its wholesome form. The third component you want to add into your diet is water. For many people, consuming an adequate amount of water on a daily basis has done wonders for skin health and complexion. I can personally vouch for it. I can tell a big difference in my skin if I didn’t get my 80 ounces that day. Make sure you drink at least half your body weight in ounces. If you live at altitude add another ten to twelve ounces and on days that you exercise, an additional 10 to 12 ounces. Your skin is a reflection of your health. Eating a nutritious diet will keep you healthy internally, and will reflect externally. My best advice in dealing with acne with nutrition is to eat a balanced, wholesome meal, abundant in fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, plenty of water, omega-3 healthy fats and lean protein.

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