The debate on whether or not acne is influenced by diet is nothing new. I’m sure we’ve all heard at one point or another that candy, soda, and fatty foods cause breakouts, only to be later told that there is no relation between food and acne. The inconsistent information is certainly cause for much confusion among acne sufferers, myself included (once upon a time), but as it turns out diets high in fiber can help clear your skin, and keep it clear.
One very important fact to consider is the relation between our immune systems and acne. A key player in acne is the growth of bacteria within a clogged pore. What fights bacteria? Our immune systems. A strong immune system gives your skin a fighting chance.
Now, the immune system and the digestive systems are more largely linked than many people know. The gastrointestinal tract contains quite a bit of immune tissue which helps to protect our bodies from outside pathogens.
Taking care of your gastrointestinal tract is important when it comes to ensuring your immune system continues to operate optimally. How does one go about doing this? One major part of caring for your digestive system is feeding it well. What you eat does in fact affect the environment within your gastrointestinal tract which ultimately affects the health of your skin. For example, a diet high in sugar can be detrimental because sugar weakens our immune system. A weakened immune system means your body cannot fight the bacteria in your pores as effectively, resulting in worsened acne.
What’s more is our skin is used by the body to detox, so if your body is laden with toxins from eating poorly, it’s going to show up on your skin as your body tries to detox and essentially cleanse itself.
Why Fiber Can Help Clear Your Skin
One major way to keep our gastrointestinal tracts healthy and running smoothly is by ingesting adequate amounts of dietary fiber (at least 25g daily for women and at least 38g for men) from food (not supplements). Fiber comes from plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seed, legumes, and grains. It helps to keep our tract running smoothly, ensuring the timely removal of waste from our bodies, so that toxins are not lingering, wreaking havoc on our immune system.
There are Two Types of Dietary Fiber:
1) Soluble Fiber
- Dissolves in water
- Slows down the rate of digestion, which helps to keep you fuller for longer since the contents of your stomach are not emptied as quickly
- Can lower your level bad cholesterol
- Can help regulate blood sugar
- Examples include: oatmeal, beans, nuts, pears, flaxseeds, apples, pears, & carrots
2) Insoluble Fiber
- Does not dissolve in water
- Passes relatively whole through the digestive system
- Has somewhat of a laxative effect in that it speeds up digestion
- Examples include: whole grains, nuts, seeds, broccoli, grapes, celery, dark
green leafy vegetables, & raisins
When eating more fiber (especially soluble) be sure to drink more water.
Other ways to care for your digestive system:
- Avoid refined carbohydrates, including sugar
- Avoid a diet high in processed foods
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid vegetable oils including
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Vegetable oil
- Peanut Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Artificial butter substitutes
- Drink lots of water (at least 8 glasses per day). You’ll need more if you sweat more due to increased activity or warmer weather.
- Try incorporating “good” bacteria into your diet. It is great for keeping your gastrointestinal tract healthy and balanced. I use Bio-Kult Probiotics and drink GT’s Kombucha
- Get enough rest — at least 7-9 hours per night
Try adding more fiber into your diet if you are an acne suffer and be sure to eat a diet that is clean and includes lots of water.