smiling woman looking in a mirror: foods to eat for better skin

What we eat and drink plays a huge role in the health of our skin. There are plenty of nutrients that play a vital role in skin health, including (but not limited to) vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and minerals such as Iron, Zinc and Selenium, as well as omega 3 fatty acids. Yes, you can take a supplement but the nutrients are found and better absorbed by our bodies from what we eat and drink – so that means that you CAN eat your way to better skin.

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Foods to eat and avoid if you have acne, oily or blemish-prone skin

Foods to AVOID if you have acne, oily or blemish-prone skin

Everybody’s skin is different, and the reasons why we get acne or blemishes differ for each person. What we do know is that a diet consisting of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates can cause someone to be more prone to acne and blemishes. These foods increase the blood insulin too quickly and high blood insulin levels may cause oil glands to secrete more oil, increasing your risk of developing acne.

It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are the same. It’s simple  sugars/carbohydrate foods that you should avoid if you have acne.

  • Baked food products e.g., croissants, biscuits, cakes, white bread
  • Sugar sweetened beverages e.g., soft drinks, energy drinks
  • Simple sugars e.g., high sugar chocolate, sweets, ice-cream, confectionary treats.

While these food items can be part of a healthy diet, it can become a problem when they make up the major part of ones diet.

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foods to eat for better skin: woman with glowing healthy skin

Foods you SHOULD eat if you have acne and want healthier skin

Foods that are particularly good for fighting acne are foods that are packed with the vital nutrients mentioned above. But complex carbohydrates, which don’t spike blood glucose and insulin levels too quickly, are also good at fighting acne and clearing skin.

These foods include but are not limited to:

  • Wholegrains: All types of beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, oats, sorghum, & other wholegrains.
  • Fruits & vegetables: Colourful fruits & veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients that are important for skin health.
  • Healthy fats: Avocado, nuts, seeds like flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, oily fish like pilchards and sardines.
  • Fluid: Water is one the best fluids that is good for acne.
Mbali Mapholi is a qualified clinical dietitian with a special interest in heart and heart-related diseases, gastrointestinal-related diseases, weight management and African diet nutrition. She is the owner of MiNutrition ZA and Mbali Mapholi. Mbali believes in the type of eating that is nourishing, enjoyable, accessible, culturally suitable and affordable, and her recommendations are based on science delivered by trusted sources. Through nutrition education, she aims to help people make informed decisions for themselves and those around them.