Today we have a guest blog post from Amie Tollefsrud, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner from Hawaii, whose going to be talking about the best acne clearing foods and the key nutrients within these foods that make them unbeatable for healing skin.
ACNE CLEARING FOODS MISSING FROM YOUR DIET
Most of us who have been struggled with painful acne are deeply aware of the connection between the food we eat and how it effects our skin. For this reason, we get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats like olive and coconut oil, and make sure to drink enough water. We know to avoid inflammatory foods like dairy, wheat and soy; we move our bodies daily, and we (attempt to…) keep happy hours to a minimum.
And yet, our skin is still a funky combo of random cystic breakouts and fine lines, no matter how closely we follow the latest natural-health guidelines for clear skin.
At least, that was my story to a T. I became borderline obsessive about keeping my diet “perfect” in order to heal my acne; I even began to fear eating any food that I didn’t cook myself, assuming that it would contain inflammatory oils or (gasp!) a touch of dairy. The irony was that no matter how “clean” I tried to eat, my acne remained painful, cystic, and embarrassing. Determined to get to the root of my own breakouts, I decided to do some digging and uncover which nutrients our skin truly thrives off of in order to heal and regenerate. What I discovered was that contrary to popular belief, a majority of the nutrients needed to heal acne-ridden skin are most concentrated in ancestral foods that rarely make an appearance in the average “healthy” diet. These acne clearing foods pack the biggest punch when it comes to essential nutrients for digestive health, hormone regulation, and consequently – beautiful skin.
ACNE CLEARING FOOD #1: GRASS FED LIVER
Liver is one of the most nutrient dense sources of pre-formed vitamin A on the planet. This form of Vitamin A (retinol) combats acne in a few important ways; it helps prevent dead skin cells from clogging pores, suppresses androgen formation (a major cause of hormonal acne) reduces sebum production, and prevents the oxidation of fats which can lead to inflammation. Retinoids are the biologically active form of Vitamin A in the body and are not to be confused with Carotenoids like Beta-Carotene – the type of Vitamin A found in orange veggies. Carotenoids are a nutritious form of antioxidants, but are not easily converted into the form of retinol needed by the body to heal acne and create glowing skin. Remember, since Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, make sure to eat your liver with some healthy fat to ensure maximum absorption.
ACNE CLEARING FOODS #2: BRAZIL NUTS
Eating only 3 or 4 of these nuts a day will provide your body with the selenium it needs to stop acne-producing bacteria from creating inflammation on the skin. The other unknown power of selenium is that is drastically increases antioxidant levels in the body, which are a key player in preventing pores from becoming blocked. We all have sebum (natural skin oil) on our faces in differing quantities. Sebum only becomes a problem when it is oxidised by free radicals. Having excellent antioxidant status helps prevent this reaction; achieve this by consuming brazil nuts, along with brightly coloured fruit and veggies daily.
ACNE CLEARING FOODS #3: SARDINES/OILY FISH
This little fish packs a powerful acne-fighting punch with a dense source of omega 3 fats, calcium, selenium, and protein. Omega-3 fats found in sardines (and other oily fish like salmon) help reduce inflammation that can trigger clogged pores and acne. Small fish like sardines are also the lowest mercury-containing fish and have been proven to dramatically improve acne, the appearance of acne scarring as well as decrease fine lines and wrinkles.
ACNE CLEARING FOOD #4: BONE BROTH
Broth is an ancestral food full of gut healing nutrients like collagen and glutamine, plus important minerals like calcium and magnesium. Many people struggling with acne find almost immediate relief when incorporating bone broth into their diets thanks to its gut-healing properties. Healing the gut lining is a vital aspect of achieving acne free skin, due to the fact that intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” allows for undigested proteins to infiltrate into the bloodstream. This causes increased levels of inflammation that can result in painful acne until the gut has been healed. An added benefit to regularly consuming bone broth is that the collagen it contains is a key player in improving skin elasticity and evening out skin tone.
ACNE CLEARING FOODS #5: OYSTERS
As the richest food source of zinc, oysters are an amazing addition to any acne-clearing diet. Zinc is vital in skin healing because it lowers chronic levels on inflammation and increases the efficiency of the immune system – preventing acne-causing bacteria to become inflamed. Zinc also reduces keratin production (preventing pores from becoming clogged) kills bacteria on the skin, and even reduces testosterone- the hormone that causes acne when in excess.
ACNE CLEARING FOOD #6: GHEE
Also known as clarified butter, is multi-use fat that has surprising acne-clearing properties. Although traditionally made from cows milk, the dairy proteins that contribute to acne are strained off during the ghee making process – leaving behind a delicious nutritional powerhouse of fat soluble vitamins A,D, E and K2. Vitamin K2 is a particularly important nutrient that many “healthy” people are deficient in, due to the fact that it is only found in a few ancestral foods; one of which is ghee. Vitamin K2 improves elastin production in the skin which is essential to healing acne scars as well as smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Try a tablespoon of ghee blended into your morning coffee or tea for a daily hit of acne-healing fat soluble vitamins.
ACNE CLEARING FOOD #7: FERMENTED FOODS
The gut microbiota is directly responsible for levels of inflammation in the body, which can often manifest outwardly via skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. Gut bacteria can be disrupted by everything from the birth control pill to sugar to antibiotic use, which is why it is important to restore good bacteria back to the gut with probiotic foods like kombucha, beet kvass, sauerkraut and kimchi. Make sure to look for sources that are “live”, “raw” to ensure the most bang for your buck. Another great one inexpensive option is to make your own.
If this list seems daunting or unrealistic, don’t worry – the nutritional route to clear skin is about progress, not perfection. Do the best you can with the resources available to you, and remember that stressing out about your diet is the single worst thing you can do for you digestion, hormones, and acne.
To get you started, I created a simple, 2 day acne-clearing meal plan just for you guys! It also includes options for those who are unwilling to eat liver or make bone broth (like me!) but know how important it is for clearing acne and preventing breakouts.
Do you regularly eat any of these acne clearing foods? Let me know how changing your diet has improved your acne in the comments below!
Have you cleared your acne naturally and want to share your story? Or are you a nutritionist, complimentary therapist or natural beauty expert that’s passionate about skin, hormonal or digestive health? I’m always on the lookout for inspiring guest posts, so get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about featuring on Skyn Therapy!