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Get Rid of Acne With These 10+ Foods

Foods that get rid of acne

What are the best foods to eat if you want to get rid of acne and pimples? There are a number of super-foods that can help fight acne breakouts thanks to their high concentration of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and other acne-fighting nutrients. Here's a list of some of the best foods you can eat if you're dreaming of flawless skin that is free of pimples and acne scars:

#1: Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the greatest health foods of all time, and they can be an excellent remedy for acne vulgaris. In a laboratory test conducted by USDA researchers, wild blueberries were shown to have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating of more than 20 fruits and berries. ORAC is a measure of antioxidant capacity of foods. The antioxidant properties of wild blueberries were shown to be even stronger than those of cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, or cultivated blueberries. In addition to their unrivalled antioxidant powers, blueberries are a good source of pectin which helps clear intestinal toxins that may contribute to acne flare-ups. Furthermore, compared to other berries, blueberries (especially wild blueberries) are a good source of vitamin E.

#2: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They are also one of the most nutritious vegetables and an excellent addition to your anti-acne diet. Although they taste sweet, sweet potatoes have a relatively low glycemic rating. Further, the pink, orange, and yellow varieties are one of the most concentrated food sources of beta-carotene (the more intense the color, the more beta-carotene). They also contain a great amount of vitamin C.

#3: Water

Although not a food, water is included in this list of acne-fighting foods because of its crucial role in maintaining clear skin. If the body does not get enough water, it will have a hard time removing metabolic waste efficiently. As a result, it begins to accumulate toxins which can cause pores in the skin to become clogged. As a general rule, 6-8 glasses of water a day should be sufficient, unless you are physically active during the day in which case your body will require significantly more water.

#4: Green Tea

Green tea has long been touted for its weight loss promoting properties, but recent scientific evidence suggests that the health benefits of green tea are not limited to weight loss benefits; green tea may also be helpful for treating acne and other skin conditions. A specific polyphenol found in green tea (the so-called (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate) has been shown to modulate the production and actions of androgens and other hormones. Consequently, it has been hypothesized it could be useful for the treatment of hormone-related acne breakouts. Green tea is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, which may help improve acne. To maximize the release of the (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate, choose loose tea leaves instead of tea bags and let the tea steep for five minutes.

If you can develop a liking for their bitter taste, dandelion greens can be a great addition to your diet. Anecdotal evidence suggests that dandelion greens – particularly in the form of tea – can reduce acne. This is not surprising considering that these bitter greens are one of the best sources of beta-carotene. Fresh dandelion leaves can be used in salads or they can be made into a herbal tea. If you cannot get used to the strong flavor of fresh dandelion leaves, you can try dandelion supplements which are available in many health food stores.

#6: Carrots

Most people know that carrots aid eyesight, but did you know that they can also be great for treating acne? These low glycemic veggies are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A in the body (Note: some people have a genetic variation that may hinder beta-carotene conversion). Vitamin A has been shown to exert positive effects on acne sufferers, probably due to its ability to affect the inflammatory aspects of acne. Vitamin A is also thought to regulate sebum production. Further, carrots are believed to have detoxifying properties and to enhance the immune system which allows your body both to fight acne before pimples occur and to help you skin recover from an acne breakout. Aside from their acne fighting properties, carrots also offer a number of other health benefits (for more information, see the article on the Health Benefits of Eating Carrots).

#7: Cilantro

If you are not put off by their pungent odor and flavor, cilantro leaves (also known as Chinese or Mexican parsley) can be a great addition to your anti-acne diet. They contain fair amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin E and are thought to help control blood sugar and to fight free radicals. Evidence also suggests that they may have anti-inflammatory as well as anti-microbial properties.

#8: Spearmint

Anecdotal evidence suggests that spearmint and peppermint can help control acne breakouts in some people. These positive effects may be explained by the ability of spearmint and peppermint to affect hormone levels. In Turkey, researchers found that women who consumed a cup of spearmint tea twice a day for five days had reduced levels free active testosterone in the blood.

Eating romaine lettuce may help prevent pimples and control acne flare-ups due to its high chromium content. Chromium has been shown to be capable of stabilizing blood sugar levels. This is good news because excessive sugar in blood stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Mild deficiencies in chromium are fairly common in Western countries, where consumption of processed foods are common, as processing significantly decrease the chromium content of foods. Also physically active people, people who drink lots of coffee or tea, and people who consume high amounts of sugar have an elevated risk of being deficient in chromium. The absorption of chromium from romaine lettuce is believed to be particularly good because of the vitamin C it contains. Vitamin C in romaine lettuce is known to enhance the absorption of chromium.

#10: Oats

Oats are a good source of zinc for people with acne vulgaris because they are low in iodine unlike many other food sources of zinc. The acne fighting properties of zinc are believed to result from its ability to reduce inflammation and to kill bacteria associated with acne. Furthermore, zinc plays a role in protein synthesis and in collagen formation, both of which are necessary for maintaining healthy skin. Zinc has also been shown to be able to significantly reduce sebum production on the surface of the skin. Furthermore, zinc is necessary for converting beta-carotene to vitamin A. To boost the nutritional value of oats, soak them for several hours before eating. Untreated oats, like other grains, contain phytic acid which can block the absorption of zinc in the intestines. Soaking allows enzymes to break down and neutralize phytic acid.

#11: Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, goes the old adage. But did you know that apples can also keep acne away? Apples contain pectin, a type of dietary fiber that absorbs toxins and pushes them through the colon fast. As most of the pectin is in the skin, it is best to buy organic apples so that you can eat them unpeeled. In addition to pectin, apples are a good source of bioflavonoids and vitamins which help maintain skin health.

See Also: 10 Ways to Use Apples in Recipes

#12: Barley

Provided that you are not sensitive or allergic to gluten, barley is one of the best grains to consume if your skin is prone to acne breakouts as it has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) rating of all common grains. Carbs that have a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating are quickly broken down by the body and cause a rapid, large rise in blood glucose levels, which in turn generally triggers the pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. In contrast, low-GI carbs, which take much longer to digest, cause only a small, slow rise in the blood glucose and insulin levels (dairy products are an exception; see discussion below). Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, but excess insulin in the bloodstream can lead to a sharp increase in circulating androgen and insulin-like growth factor, which are associated with acne.

#13: Mustard Greens

Due to their extremely high content of beta-carotene, mustard greens are thought to fight acne by affecting the inflammatory aspects of this skin condition. They may also help control sebum production that makes skin oily. Further, mustard greens contain vitamin E. Mustard greens with their distinctly peppery flavor are available throughout the year and can be found in the produce section of your local supermarket.

Hungry for More Information?

For additional information on nutrition and acne, check out the section Diet Tips for Acne-Free Skin of this online guide as well as our collection of Acne-Fighting Recipes.

If you are looking for a solid offline resource to support you on your journey to acne-free skin, you might want to check out The Clear Skin Prescription by bestselling author and acclaimed celebrity dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, M.D. In this compelling book, Dr Perricone dispels common medical myths about acne and explains how specific dietary habits, supplements, and topical applications can be used successfully to treat acne. The book features great before-and-after photos, interesting scientific research, and plenty of clear skin promoting recipes to try your hand at! If you live in the US or UK, check out the offer and reader reviews for this terrific book by clicking here.