We’ve talked about 5 foods that promote skin’s health and wellness and 8 amazing antioxidant herbs, but what about all the other foods out there? Just as staying hydrated and eating the right foods has benefits for our skin, there are foods that might be doing more harm than good.
Here are some foods that you might consider cutting back on or avoiding altogether if you are actively trying to improve your skin.
Starchy foods like bread, rice, cake, pasta, and potatoes are “high glycemic foods” that can cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise. (Glycemic index refers to the effect that eating a food has on your blood sugar.) Your body then produces more insulin to get your blood sugar under control and the extra insulin can cause inflammation. Eating high glycemic foods can also cause hormone level changes that may result in your skin overproducing oil. Inflammation + excess oil = acne waiting to happen. (1)
Similar to eating starchy foods, eating a lot of sugar can cause your insulin to spike which may trigger inflammation. This inflammation can affect your skin in a couple of ways: it breaks down collagen and elastin which results in saggy skin/wrinkles, and it can make conditions like acne and rosacea more severe. Also: digested sugar permanently attaches to your skin’s collagen. (2)
If you read our previous blog post about how water benefits your skin’s health and appearance, you can probably already guess where we’re going with this one. Eating a lot of salt disrupts your body’s water balance and your skin cells ‘donate’ water to keep things running smoothly. (3) This can result in your skin drying out, cracking, or even overproducing oil to help compensate for the water loss. (4)
Be particularly careful about packaged and processed foods, even ones marketed as being healthy – these often contain high levels of sodium.
This is a tricky one because your body needs some iodine to function properly, and it actually offers many benefits for the skin. (5) However, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to iodine – especially if you struggle with acne. Iodine can be drying and irritating to skin, and some people have a higher sensitivity to iodine which might cause them to break out if they take in too much. (6)
If you suspect you might have a sensitivity, watch out for foods that are known to contain high levels of iodine: seaweed, certain types of fish and shellfish, dairy, beans, eggs, and iodized salt. (7)
Although dairy products are a good source of vitamins and minerals, research suggests a strong correlation between consuming a lot of dairy and skin issues such as premature aging and acne. (8) The likely culprit is hormones – not necessarily anything added to the milk, but the natural hormones produced by the cows who are, in turn, producing the milk. These hormones would make their way into the milk and trigger an inflammatory response in some people who drink it. If you struggle with acne, try cutting dairy out of your diet to see how your skin responds – you’ll need to do it for about 12 weeks to see significant improvement.
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