One moment, youre ready to face the day with a vengeance: the next, youre standing in the bathroom mirror, wondering how exactly you managed to sprout an overgrowth of acne overnight. Regardless of how self confident you may be, acne and breakouts seem to affect every one of us on an emotional level. When we dont look our best, we usually dont feel our best, either.
While topical creams can help to reduce the appearance of current breakouts, what you eat can help speed the healing process, increased cellular turnover, and prevent future breakouts from occurring. If you find yourself regularly battling spots and breakouts, or if you just want to take better care of your skin, incorporate the following seven foods into your diet. These superstar foods all include nutrients that play a role in acne and skin health.
Vitamin E and Powerful Plant Foods: Almonds and Sweet Potatoes
Foods rich in Vitamin E protect the skin from acne and other skin woes thanks to Es antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to reduce the production of free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage DNA and cell tissues, including collagen in the skin. Great news for plant-based eaters- some of our most lauded over staples are very high in Vitamin E: One ounce of almonds or one sweet potato provides a whopping 40% of our daily recommendation, making these skin-boosters among the best options for skin health and acne prevention.
Zinc: Garbanzo Beans.
Zinc has proven to be a powerful anti-acne agent in its ability to reduce excess sebum production. Acne occurs when excess sebum clogs skins pores. As such, its no surprise that reducing excess sebum would, in turn, help to prevent acne and treat existing spots. Studies have supported zincs efficacy, presenting a negative correlation between inadequate zinc consumption and acne. In other words, when zinc intake falls too low, acne tends to flare, becoming even more onerous and potent.
Top vegan picks for zinc include tofu and garbanzo beans. Lentils, oatmeal, and cashews are other stellar picks. Try using tofu or garbanzo beans in a morning time hash, or pair cashews and tofu in a dinnertime curry.
Selenium: Brazil Nuts and Sunflower Seeds.
When selenium is consumed in conjunction with antioxidant Vitamin E, the two act as a dynamic duo to minimize free radical production that may otherwise harm skins collagen. Whereas the large majority of the population consumes adequate selenium, vegans and vegetarians (especially those who us who are picky) may not consume enough selenium in our diets, as many of the main food sources of selenium are animal based products (fish, meat, and eggs).
However, if you consume the following foods, its likely that your consumption of selenium is sufficient: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and whole grains. Ive found that sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter are particularly easy to incorporate in salads and as a savory spread for apples, whereas Brazil nuts make great snacking options.
Flavonols: Broccoli and Apples
Flavonols work to increase skins hydration, reducing dryness, flakiness, and rough skin texture. German researchers found that when study participants consumed a high-flavonol beverage daily for twelve weeks, the texture, structure, UV resiliency, hydration, and circulation to the skin showed great improvements relative to that of a control group. So how does all of this relate to acne?
When skin structure is compromised, either through rough, dry cracks or flakiness, your pores are more likely to become clogged by dead skin tissue and sebum, leading to breakouts. Furthermore, dehydrated skin does not heal as quickly or efficiently as moist skin thats why antibiotic ointment or Vaseline are often used in wound healing, to keep the surrounding skin moist in promotion of wound healing.
While skins moisture content is important in regards to the texture and appearance of skin, as well as the prevention of acne itself, circulation plays a vital role in delivery important nutrients and oxygen to the skin to prevent the buildup of dead cells and encourage cellular turnover.
Studies have shown that foods high in flavonols also improve skins resilience to UV rays- but dont take that as an excuse to not wear sunscreen! Foods rich in flavonols include apples, broccoli, onions, leeks, black and green tea, and tomatoes.
Be sure to cover all your bases!
Regardless of how many skin-soothing superstars you include in your diet, be sure to eliminate any bad guys as well: simple carbohydrates, alcohol, sugar, salt, processed foods, and unhealthy fats create inflammation in the body, which exacerbates any pre existing issue, and may lead to the future deterioration of the skin itself, setting you up for spotty remorse.
While eating one or two of the aforementioned foods is a great step to improving the health and appearance of your skin, combining foods between groups to consume a balanced array of nutrients increases the likelihood that you and your skin will be ready to face the mirror with confidence.