3 Simple Diet Changes That Help Eliminate Acne

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Hey every­one! I get a lot of ques­tions relat­ing to diet: “is dairy okay?” or “can I eat tofu?” or “what doyou eat?” While I will be post­ing my per­sonal nutri­tion and exer­cise rou­tine soon, I thought it would be ben­e­fi­cial to talk about some sim­ple dietary changes in the meantime.

Here are 3 sim­ple diet changes you can make right away that will improve your skin and help elim­i­nate acne. Stick with it! It may take up to 4 weeks to start see­ing results, though most peo­ple will expe­ri­ence clear­ing up, reduced red­ness, and/or a ces­sa­tion of new blem­ishes within 7–10 days.

{DIET CHANGE #1}

Reduce (or elim­i­nate) grains from your diet. This is just one sim­ple thing, but it’s a big change for many peo­ple. Why reduce/eliminate them? In short, grains spike your insulin response whether they are whole grain or not. Grains are high in starch (so are pota­toes, by the way) and that means the body con­verts that starch into sugar. The more processed the starch (flour, bread, bread­crumbs, pas­tries, bagels, muffins, etc.), the more quickly your body con­verts it to sugar, result­ing in a surge of insulin. Spik­ing your insulin results in a few things: inflam­ma­tion, which can cause every­thing from acne to eczema to fibromyal­gia and other inflam­ma­tory con­di­tions, and decreased insulin sen­si­tiv­ity, which results in weight gain, fatigue, and pre-diabetes or dia­betes. Essen­tially, insulin is the pri­mary hor­mone (cor­ti­sol is another one) that tells our bod­ies to hold onto fat and the more insulin we have, the more fat we are going to store, which then leads to weight-related health issues as well. As you can see, every­thing is con­nected and it is all a cycle, and at the root cause, it’s often diet.

Fur­ther­more, there is the prob­lem of gluten (mean­ing “glue”) and sap­ponins, which exist in most grains and seed grains like quinoa. Both have a nasty habit of destroy­ing the villi in our intestines, result­ing in poor diges­tion and leaky gut syn­drome, which then results in aller­gies, inflam­ma­tion, and skin dis­or­ders like acne and eczema. Peo­ple with Celiac have a more severe reac­tion to gluten than the rest of us, but we are all effected neg­a­tively by the intro­duc­tion of gluten into our guts.

Do you even need grains in your diet? It’s a HUGE mis­con­cep­tion that we need grains in our daily diet. Granted, whole grain is bet­ter than the stripped down white stuff, but it’s still not that great for your body. We are raised with grains because it’s cheap, it’s easy, and it adds bulk to our meals. Buu­uut, they’re low in fiber, not very nutri­tious (com­pared to fruits, veg­gies, and meat/seafood), spike your insulin, come with a high carb and calo­rie cost, and most of them taste pretty bad by them­selves (except rice, in my opin­ion). Accord­ing to the USDA, brown rice is only 4% fiber and whole wheat sits at 12% fiber. In com­par­i­son, an apple and spinach are 15% and 50% fiber, respec­tively. Big dif­fer­ence, eh? Over­all, fruits and veg­gies are a much bet­ter option if you need a sweet or carb fix – they’re high in fiber, keep your insulin sta­ble, are lower in carbs/calories, and taste deli­cious by them­selves. Plus they’re high in water, which in turn hydrates your cells and keeps your skin look­ing lovely.

What about the nutri­tional value of grains? Dol­lar for dol­lar and pound for pound, veg­eta­bles, fruits, and meat are far supe­rior than grains in ALL nutri­tional aspects. You can­not get any­thing from grains that you can­not get from veg­gies, fruit, or meat/seafood. For exam­ple, you get more B vit­a­mins, vit­a­min A, cal­cium, zinc, and fiber from fruits, veg­gies, and meat than you ever could eat­ing grains. This is pretty fun: 1 cup of cooked spinach (boiled) pro­vides 377% of your RDA for vit­a­min A, 29% vit­a­min C, 24% cal­cium, and 36% iron. Let’s com­pare that to a slice of whole wheat bread, shall we? 0% vit­a­min A, 0% vit­a­min C, 3% cal­cium, and 4% iron.*

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Now, I did say “reduce or elim­i­nate,” so if you are more of the reduc­ing rather than the elim­i­nat­ing type, I have a few sug­ges­tions for you:

Go with a sprouted bread like Ezekiel, which is flour­less and made from sprouted whole grains, which means it has more fiber and less starch, and will not cause the same crazy insulin surge as a slice of Won­der­bread. Brown rice and rice in gen­eral (except for white rice) are accept­able grains due to their lack of gluten and sap­ponins. No other grain or seed grain is really that accept­able (for instance, kamut is high in fiber, but it con­tains gluten, so that makes it a bad option, and quinoa con­tains sap­ponins, which makes it a bad option as well). And as a gen­eral rule, eat grains min­i­mally. Reduce your por­tion size of them and only include them when you absolutely have to have them (i.e. killer crav­ings). Per­son­ally, I go months at a time with­out eat­ing a sin­gle grain, but if a mon­strous crav­ing strikes for a choco­late chip cookie, you bet your butt I’m going to eat it.

{DIET CHANGE #2}

Kick the soy and dairy. Soy con­tains plant estro­gens, and dairy (par­tic­u­larly the con­ven­tional un-fermented stuff) con­tains andro­gens that mimic male sex hor­mones. Both soy and dairy dis­rupt our own hor­mone bal­ance and mimic our nat­ural human hor­mone pro­duc­tion. A lot of acne cases stem from a hor­monal imbal­ance caused by diet and/or the liver’s inabil­ity to process hor­mones effi­ciently. You can eas­ily begin to rebal­ance your hor­mones by elim­i­nat­ing dairy and soy from your diet. Some dairy, such as organic grass-fed kefir or yogurt, may be all right for some peo­ple since the ben­e­fits can far out­weigh the poten­tial prob­lems. How­ever, it is best to elim­i­nate dairy totally for 3–6 months before adding kefir or yogurt into the diet. You can also try goat milk (prefer­ably raw and/or organic) later on, since it con­tains less hor­mones, zero lac­tose, and smaller fat mol­e­cules that are eas­ier to digest.

Soy-related hor­monal imbal­ances can reveal them­selves via weight gain, water reten­tion, and hor­monal or cys­tic acne around the mouth and chin. Switch from soy milk to almond milk (you canmake your own nut milks really eas­ily, too). If you eat pack­aged foods, look out for soy­bean oil and soy pro­tein. Non-GMO soy lecithin is fine. If you insist on eat­ing soy with meals, eat only fer­mented, organic soy: tem­peh, miso, or natto. Organic soy can­not be GMO, mean­ing it is less harm­ful (it doesn’tdam­age DNA like GMO foods do) and the fer­men­ta­tion process elim­i­nates some of the hor­monal qual­i­ties and cre­ates more vit­a­mins (specif­i­cally vit­a­min K) and probiotics.

{DIET CHANGE #3}

Eat more organic veg­gies. Yes, fruit is nice too, but organic (fresh or frozen) veg­gies like spinach, broc­coli, kale, col­lards, Swiss chard, zuc­chini, pars­ley, cilantro, cau­li­flower, and aspara­gus are super­stars when it comes to sup­port­ing healthy, glow­ing, acne-free skin. There are numer­ous ways to incor­po­rate them into your diet. Steam up a cup of veg­gies with your lunch or din­ner. Add spinach to your morn­ing omelet. Drink a green smoothie (gen­er­ally 1 cup fil­tered water + 1 hand­ful of green leafy veg­gies + 1 or 2 hand­fuls of fruit). Drink a green juice. This will have a huge pos­i­tive effect on your skin – oil pro­duc­tion will bal­ance out, your skin will have a gor­geous glow and color to it, and you will expe­ri­ence far less break­outs (or none at all).

 

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3 Responses to 3 Simple Diet Changes That Help Eliminate Acne

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