When new patients come to me complaining about acne, I always ask them about their diet. Despite what you may have heard, there is mounting evidence that sweets and junk food like chips, white bread and French fries can cause breakouts.
That's because these foods have a high glycemic index, meaning they cause your blood sugar to rise, forcing your body to bring it down with a surge of insulin. The insulin stimulates oil-producing hormones called androgens, leaving you with pimples.
Studies show that avoiding sugary, starchy foods and instead eating whole grains, lean meat and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is not only good for you, but helps keep your skin clear. I also recommend that patients avoid dairy products, including cheese and yogurt. Though the evidence isn't quite as clear yet, research has found that people who drink more milk are more likely to experience breakouts. This is most likely due to the fact that milk--even if it's organic--contains the same hormones that cause acne in humans.
The good news is that some foods have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities that can actually help fight acne, and many of them are very tasty.
Here are my top 10 acne-fighting foods:
- Fish oil
- Green tea
- Berries (blueberry, blackberry and strawberry are best)
- Whole grains
- Nuts (walnuts are particularly good)
- Dark green vegetables (Like kale, broccoli and spinach)
If you suffer from acne, I encourage you to give these dietary changes a try. It may take a while to see improvement (usually about six weeks), but as long as you keep it up, the results are permanent!
Wishing you great skin!