Have you ever heard that eating chocolate causes or worsens acne? While you may have thought this is just an old wives’ tale, studies have shown that diet plays a big role in skin health. Instinctively it makes sense that eating clean foods supports clear skin, while eating junk food leads to skin issues. The truth behind this is that our skin is made up of layers of cells that create a barrier to the outside world, and every one of these cells needs adequate nutrition to function optimally.
Without essential nutrients, skin cells replicate faster than old skin cells can slough off, more oil is produced than is needed, bacterial balance in the skin is thrown off, and inflammation can take hold, all resulting in acne.
Choosing a whole/natural foods diet that emphasizes lots of veggies, quality protein, healthy fats, and some fruit and starchy vegetables will give your body the nutrition it needs to build clear, healthy skin.
Wild caught fatty fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines) contain omega-3 fats that support healthy levels of inflammation throughout the body, including the skin.
Nuts contain minerals, such as zinc (vital for immune system function) and selenium (an antioxidant that helps temper oxidative stress in the skin, which can lead to inflammation), as well as vitamin E (an important fat-soluble antioxidant in the body, which helps preserve the function of fats needed to maintain skin health).
Vegetables and Fruits are rich in antioxidants that support the immune system and healthy inflammation, and fiber that supports digestive health and healthy bacterial balance. Aim to fill half your plate with veggies at every meal. Some specific groups of fruits and veggies to emphasize include:
Zinc-rich foods including oysters, beans, poultry, and fish support the immune system, which is responsible for controlling the inflammatory response in the body and balancing bacterial populations on the skin.
The recipes and meal ideas below make it easy to include these clear-skin foods in your diet every day!
Typical American breakfast choices tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. These gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast ideas can help you get the day started on the right foot.
Bringing a packed lunch can make this part of the day delicious and nutritious!
Most convenient snacks are filled with sugar and unhealthy fats. Fortunately, snacks that are healthy for skin can also be delicious. Try any of these snacks for a mid-day energy boost.
Balanced dinner options that do not include dairy or gluten and do include half a plate of vegetables, quality protein, and healthy fats will support skin health and leave you feeling satisfied and nourished.
As you can see, it is both easy and delicious to eat for skin health. Include these four groups of foods in your diet, and watch your clear skin glow!
So does chocolate cause or worsen acne? Over the years, study results have been mixed, but a small 2014 double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial in men with a history of acne showed that 6 ounces of unsweetened 100-percent cocoa consumed all at once in pill form exacerbated acne after 4 and 7 days.So it is likely that avoiding chocolate binges could also support clear skin.
Learn more about supporting healthy skin with nutrient supplements in this article from our current Health Hotline.