Acne, blackheads, whiteheads, zits…call them what you will; nobody likes to see these blemishes staring back when they look in the mirror. Cosmetic products abound, and prescription creams can be applied, but if you are looking for a healthier, more holistic approach, the first place to start is by making changes in your diet.
The western diet, filled with processed foods and instant everything may be convenient, but it has left its mark upon our very faces. Acne is caused by a variety of factors, not the least of which is the over production of Sebum, an oil that the body produces to aid in keeping the skin moist and in the production of hair. We do need sebum, but too much of it can cause the skins pores to become clogged, add to this a little inflammation, and problems will soon arise. One possible solution is to reduce the production of sebum, and increase the strength and health of your skin, by adding some heathy vegetables and fruits to your diet, particularly vegetables that are high in vitamins E and C, and Carotenoids, as well as minerals like Zinc, and Selenium. These nutrients accomplish a variety of things, including reducing sebum production, the strengthening of skin cells, minimizing inflammation, and protecting the skin against the scarring that can result from acne.
Enlist these vegetables and fight the war on acne:
Avocados – Now, let’s agree not to argue about whether or not avocado is actually a vegetable or a fruit. Technically I suppose it is a fruit, but so are tomatoes, but they are going to be on this list too. Avocados are one of the best foods out there to help fight acne because they contain not just one, but two of the important nutrients that will help to keep your skin healthy; Zinc, which helps limit the production of sebum, and vitamin E which contributes to healthy skin. Also, vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, and avocados are a healthy source of monounsaturated fat, plus…they taste great!
Broccoli – This cruciferous vegetable is another heavy hitter in the healthy skin game. Packed with vitamins C and E it not only helps keep your skin healthy in the first place, but is packed with antioxidants that can help protect the skin from scarring when a breakout does occur.
Mushrooms – crimini, shitake, portabella, or white button, regardless of the kind you choose, these mushrooms add selenium to your diet, an important nutrient that aids in the production of antioxidants, and can be an important part of your fight against acne. Eat them raw, add them to your stir fry, or slice them thin and add them to a burger or a salad; however you slice them, they will be a valuable part of your anti acne team.
Sweet Potato – This food just makes me happy! There is something about that deep orange color and sweet savor that puts a smile on my face. The fact that these tubers add a boat load of beta carotene to your diet should put a smile on yours as well. This sebum fighting nutrient is both delicious and nutritious.
Carrots – “What’s up Doc?” Did Bugs Bunny every have acne? I don’t think so! Perhaps the fact that he was always munching on a carrot had something to do with that. Probably the most famous beta carotene provider in the grocery store, this vegetable definitely needs to find its way in to your shopping cart, your refrigerator, your salad bowl, and your lunch box!
Spinach – This leafy green goodness is one powerful participant in the attack on acne. Filled with vitamin E, and with beta carotene, this super food is a super way to get several of the nutrients that your body needs to keep your skin looking smooth and clear. Add spinach to your salad bowl, slip it between the slices of turkey in that sandwich, sauté it and add it to your omelet, or better yet…toss it into the blender with some acne fighting fruits and make a smoothie that will leave you smiling.
Brussels Sprouts – Supposedly first introduced to the United States by Thomas Jefferson, (thank you Mr. President), these wonderful vegetables contain copious amounts of both vitamin C, and Zinc thereby minimizing sebum production, and strengthening the cell walls within the skin.
Red and Green Bell Peppers – High in vitamin C and in beta carotene, red and green peppers are an easy vegetable to add to your diet. Whether you are tossing them into your stir fry, your fajitas, your salad, or just slicing them thin and munching on the crisp, mildly sweet, peppers as a midafternoon snack in place of those potato chips from the vending machine you will be doing yourself and your skin a favor by adding these delicious and beautifully colored veggies to your menu.
Assorted Beans (Lima, Soy, or Green) – High in zinc, these legumes will go a long way toward keeping your diet replete in this vital nutrient. Serve them on their own, add them to your soup, or for a fresh and fun idea, mix some fresh green beans with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle them with your favorite spices, (garlic powder and oregano for me) and roast them until slightly tender in the oven, and you will have a delicious side dish that you can enjoy for its flavor, and for the benefits it will bring to your skin.
Kale – This leafy green power house has gotten a lot of great press lately, and we can add acne fighter to its list of accomplishments. Kale is rich in vitamin C, and in vitamin E, as well as a long list of nutrients including, but not limited to, vitamin B6, Copper, Iron, and Manganese, all of which are vital nutrients to keep your skin clear, healthy, and glowing.
Alleviating Acne Never Tasted So Good
This assortment of vegetables not only provide the nutrients you need in order to develop and maintain healthy skin, but they taste great too. Of course, you can choose to eat those “convenient” foods that come prepackaged or passed through the drive through window , and continue to spend your hard-earned money on potions, poultices, and prescriptions, or you can choose to partake of the healthier fare of these powerful vegetables and supply your body with the power to fight acne and keep that face in the mirror smiling back at you every morning!