1. Reduce your refined sugar intake. Duh, you knew that, but more importantly, there are things you can do to curb that sweet tooth.....
High sugar diets are a big problem we face as a society, even "healthy" beverages have a lot more sugar than you think they do. It plays a big part in a bunch of diseases, especially diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Sugar is an often unrecognized factor in acne. High sugar intake results in an increase in insulin activity, leading to an increase in the production of both fat and androgen hormones (testosterone). The increase in these two cause an increase in the excretion of sebum from oil glands, making people more prone to acne. Refined sugar can be a challenge to remove from your diet, but not impossible. Studies say that In as little as a few days of removing sugar, cravings will subside, making it easier for you to stick to your guns. Me? I never have gotten past craving Hershey kisses. So if you're like me and still craving something sweet after a meal, fruit smoothies can be a great way to both satisfy your sweet tooth and meet your daily fruit requirements! I personally like fresh berries and Cool Whip.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies, 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 and acne. They are also great for improving insulin sensitivity, further contributing to both diabetes and acne prevention.
3. Try Ginger and Turmeric.....
Both ginger and turmeric have long been used for an 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 one. Another way to use ginger is by making fresh ginger tea: grate ginger into boiling water, steep for about 10 minutes, add lemon and agave and enjoy! Turmeric on the other hand has a distinctly peppery flavor and mustard like smell, making it a great addition to curry dishes. By also incorporating pepper with turmeric, you can amp up the health benefits associated with consuming turmeric.
4. Drink Green Tea! Cook with Green Tea!
You've all heard about the great health benefits of green tea including improvements in oral health, odor, arthritis, cancer risk, diabetes, heart disease, weight control and blood pressure. Green tea is also excellent at boosting skin health, with documented effectiveness at reducing risk 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 green tea. These catechins are powerful antioxidants that are useful weapons against free radicals.
5. Drink More Water! Ok fine, this is definitely a Duh.
Water is essential for life, but 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 more water your skin will 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. Remember 64 oz per day!
6. 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! Don't get me wrong, milk had Calcium and Vitamin D, and all the good things we've always heard about. You just need to limit your intake of dairy products, especially if you are prone to acne.