There are many memories of high school that we would all like to forget. One of them is acne. After puberty, for some people acne is an annoying problem even as adults. The good news is that making the right choices in the kitchen helps to fight acne. One of them involves following a proper Mediterranean diet. Here is the list of the best and worst foods for acne-prone skin. We talk about this topic with Dr. Alessandra Narcisi, dermatologist at Humanitas.
Foods to limit if you suffer from acne
Refined carbohydrates. The glycemic index measures how much a food containing carbohydrates raises blood sugar levels and triggers an insulin response: the higher this number, the greater the impact of a food on acne. That’s why sufferers should avoid refined carbohydrates. Sugar snacks stimulate inflammation and the production of hormones that fill the pores with excess sebum. The advice is therefore to skip white bread and non-integral pasta, crisps, pastries and desserts.
Chocolate. Since foods with a high glycemic index are prohibited, it must also be assumed that chocolate is on that list. Chocolate, besides being a highly sugary food, is also high in fat. That is why it should be severely restricted, even if not eliminated altogether, if you suffer from acne.
Skimmed milk. Casein and the products containing it (milk and cheese) has been identified as the alleged culprit of acne in adulthood. A large retrospective study of more than 47,000 women also found that acne was associated with the consumption of dairy products, particularly skimmed milk. However, the weak association between the two factors means that more research is needed before saying goodbye to yoghurt, cheese and milk.
Vegetable oils. Processed vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, soya and cottonseed are often accused of contributing to problematic skin. While there is a lack of research to prove that the intake of omega 6-rich fats has a direct effect on acne, it is a known fact that when we consume too many omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats, our body enters a state of inflammation. Acne is in fact essentially an inflammation of the skin.
Whey protein powder. Too much protein can feed the muscles, but it hurts the skin. Studies have shown an increase in acne exacerbations in male athletes who consume whey protein supplements. One possible explanation is that amino acids in whey protein powder can stimulate the body to increase its natural insulin levels, which promotes the onset of adult acne.
The best foods for acne
If you suffer from acne, you can use whole grains for a diet rich in foods with a low glycemic index and fibers that help to cleanse your skin. Fruits, vegetables, quinoa, oatmeal and legumes are all excellent carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.
Among the anti-acne vegetables, a place of honor is given to cabbage, which is rich in the antioxidant power of vitamin A and vitamin E. A study also found that supplementation with vitamin A helped to reduce the severity of acne in patients with an acne tendency. In that case we should do not lack carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, peppers and melon in our diet, while vitamin E can be found in abundance in seeds, chard, mustard and spinach. Pumpkin seeds, rich in zinc, are also excellent, as are cashews, beef, turkey, quinoa, lentils and seafood.