6 Crazy Simple Food Tips that Will Make Your Skin Glow

Acne is a common nuisance that affects about 85% of teenagers and about 50% of adults. Waking up and finding a big, red spot on your face can really put a damper on your day, leaving you less confident to strive for success. While there is overwhelming evidence for the role of diet in acne and skin health, most dermatologists continue to recommend drugs before considering nutrition. As a result, most people have no idea just how powerful a healthy diet can be at improving skin health. 

With that said, what can you do to get that clean and clear, glowing and healthy skin with nutrition alone? 

1. Reduce your refined sugar intake. Duh, you knew that, but more importantly, learn tricks that can help you balance your sweet cravings. 

High sugar intakes are a large problem we face as a society, even "healthy" beverages have more sugar than you think. Not only is it a factor for just about any chronic disease, especially diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it is also an underrepresented factor for acne. High sugar intakes result in an increase in insulin activity, leading to an increase in the production of both fat and androgen hormones (e.g. testosterone). These increases enhance the excretion of sebum, making people consuming high sugar diets more prone to acne. Refined sugar can be a challenge to remove from your diet but with a little dedication, you'll be on your way to a low sugar diet. In as little as a few days of removing sugar, cravings will subside, making it easier for you to stick to your guns. Still craving something sweet after a meal? There are ways that can help you manage your sweet tooth. For example, fruit smoothies can be a great way to both curb your sugar cravings and amp up your daily fruit consumption! 

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables, but do so by adding more creative plant-based meals into your daily diet, rather than, y'know, just a side of spinach!

We know that fruits and vegetables are important for good health, yet the majority of us don't get enough. Fruits and vegetables are high in many important nutrients, phytochemicals, fiber and antioxidants that make them superior for promoting healthy skin. The antioxidant content in plants, for example vitamin C, E and beta-carotene, are excellent at fighting free radicals. By reducing free radicals, fruits and vegetables effectively reduce signs of aging, acne and inflammation! They are also great for improving insulin sensitivity, further contributing to both diabetes and acne prevention. 

3. Try Ginger and Turmeric? We've heard this before too, but here's how! 

Both ginger and turmeric have long been used for their impressive array of health benefits. They are both extremely effective at reducing inflammation, as well as acting as an anti-bacterial, making them great for maintaining clear and glowing skin. Ginger has a pungent and fresh taste that works great in many recipes. It can be grated on many dishes to give them a nice 'kick'. Like smoothies? Try adding a slice of ginger to your next concoction. Our favorite way to use ginger is making fresh ginger tea: grate ginger into boiling water, steep for about 10 minutes, add lemon and agave and enjoy!

4. Use Green Tea and Get Creative With It! 

The health benefits of green tea are bountiful, extending to improvements in oral health, odor, arthritis, cancer risks, diabetes, heart disease, weight control and blood pressure. Green tea is also excellent at boosting skin health, with documented effectiveness at reducing risks for skin cancer, managing psoriasis and eczema, reducing inflammation, slowing the signs of aging and reducing the incidence and severity of breakouts. Most of these impressive health benefits come from the polyphenols, catechins, which are found in high concentrations in the leaves of tea. These catechins are powerful antioxidants that are useful weapons against free radicals. 

5. Drink More Water! Ok fine, this is definitely Duh.

Water is essential for life yet most of us don't drink nearly enough. Water is important for the health of every cell and organ in the human body, skin included. This can be easily seen in dehydrated individuals, who tend to have less elastic, more wrinkle prone and dull skin. By drinking enough water, your skin will transform to be more vibrant, elastic and healthy all-around. I find the best way to ensure I'm getting enough water is to drink a tall glass with each meal and to carry a water bottle with me for the rest of the day. Don't like plain water? Give your drink a healthy boost by adding orange, lemon or cucumber slices. 

6. Finally we unveil the REAL SECRET: Cut down on Dairy Products!

Dairy is full of the perfect balance of fat, protein, and hormones to help a baby cow gain 300 pounds in a year, which is great for a baby cow, but not so great for us humans. The hormones (the most powerful of these hormones is called insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1) in dairy (even natural, unprocessed dairy) have been strongly linked with a variety of hormone-related illnesses in humans, including acne. 

The famous Nurse's Health Study examining health habits of 47,000 nurses found that those who drank more milk as teenagers had much higher rates of severe acne than those who had little or no milk as teenagers. What's even more shocking is that it wasn't the fat in milk, but skim milk that had the strongest risk for acne. 

In addition, milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to even more acne!