In order to get rid of blackheads and acne and in your pursuit for a glowing skin, you have to take a good hard look at what you eat as part of your blackhead diet. The best diet against blackheads is a well-balanced and varied diet. Eating fruits and veggies, packed with antioxidants, eating lean protein meats and fish all help in your battle against pimples. a recent study in the 2009 issue of “Dermato-endocrinology” confirms this belief. Overhauling your lifestyle by incorporating more of these foods into your diet will not only lead to a healthier skin but also lead to an overall increase in your health!
So why wait?!
Vitamin C-rich Foods
The best foods against blackheads and acne are packed with vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital in the repairing and growing of all tissues in your body. So you can see how it can play a vital role in maintaining collagen levels in your skin, making your skin look and feel 10 years younger.
The antioxidant helps to protect your skin while healing it. All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C, states the NIH.
Especially berries seem to be a prime source of vitamin C. It’s a welcome change o oranges and other citrus fruits.
Suitable berries include red and black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries. Other vitamin C-rich fruits include cherries, apples, mango, papaya, pineapple, pears, melons and of course citrus fruits.
Citrus fruits include grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines and oranges. Juices made from these fruits can also contain large amounts of the skin-healthy nutrient. Vegetable sources of the nutrient include tomatoes, varieties of potatoes such as sweet and white, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens. Dark, leafy greens include spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens and collards, according to the American Heart Association.
Swapping out unhealthy, high-glycemic foods for lean protein may have a positive effect on your skin, according to a study in the July 2007 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” The study reports that protein also increases your feeling of fullness, which prevents you from overeating and helps prevent weight gain and obesity, so other than the blackhead diet working against acne and blackheads, it seems you could lose some weight as you go as well!
Replacing fatty meats with lower fat protein may also help to get rid of acne and blackheads. Lean protein includes plant-based sources including legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, split peas and other beans. Fish that can help your skin health are those classified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association. These include fatty, cold water fish such as salmon, herring, trout, sardines, mackerel and albacore tuna. You can eat fresh fish or canned versions to get your lean protein.
Start eating skinless poultry such as turkey and chicken to help your skin’s health.
Foods to avoid in the blackhead diet
Basically in he blackhead diet there are several main groups of food you would like to avoid due to their comedogenic effects. Simple carbs, dairy products and unhealthy fats (yes there is such a thing!).
High glycemic index carbohydrates (aka “simple” carbs)
High glycemic index and refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, flour, refined cereal products and white potatoes, are the main culprits for causing acne and blackheads, among other diseases related to a more western lifestyle, such as diabetes. These so-called “simple”-carbs are very easily digested by your body, causing a reaction which causes your insulin levels to spike.
High insulin levels are a risk for acne and blackheads as it:
- Promotes inflammation.
- Stimulates the production of new skin cells. Insulin is a type of growth hormone (not the one that will give you giant muscles!), so one of its most important jobs is to stimulate cell growth and reproduction.
- Raise androgen levels. Androgens are the so-called “male hormones”, such as DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) and testosterone. They are naturally present in males and females (but normally at much lower levels in women than in men). They stimulate sebum production, so if you eat too many fast carbs, your androgen levels may run too high, which can put your oil glands into overdrive.
Milk and most other dairy products contain two main types of proteins: casein and whey. The proteins in dairy products, are designed to grow a baby cow. Unfotunately we are all not baby cows so we have to suffer through the adverse effects of dairy on our skin. Dairy should be avoided a per the blackhead diet for the following reasons:
- Whey proteins trigger insulin spikes just as powerfully as pure sugar does, and as a result have the effects on your skin as described in the above paragraph.
- Whey proteins contain a growth factor called betacellulin. This growth factor binds to a special receptor on human skin cells called the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) like a key in a lock. When betacellulin binds to EGFR, it can trigger the skin follicle to make too much sebum, basically pushing your oil glands to go into overdrive.
- Casein proteins raise IGF-1 levels by about 30%. IGF-1 stands for “Insulin-like Growth Factor.” IGF-1 is a growth hormone similar to insulin that stimulates excess sebum, skin cell, and androgen production. Nothing we would like to happen really.
You might think low-fat and non-fat dairy products, such as fat-free yogurt and skim milk would be healthier options for the dairy addicted blackhead-and-acne sufferer and thus would fit the blackhead diet, but actually they contain a higher concentration of dairy proteins than high-fat dairy products, and therefore are even better at triggering acne breakouts.
Omega-6 fatty acids
When there is too much omega-6 in the diet, and not enough omega-3, the scales tip too far in the direction of inflammation. Seed oils, such as canola, soybean, and corn oil, are high in omega-6’s, whereas certain fish oils are higher in omega-3’s, which promote healing. For more information, click here.
Be careful with current salmon species nowadays as the salmon of today isn’t any longer the salmon it used to be. Farmed salmon may have higher levels of Omega-6 fatty acids running through its veins than wild, Atlantic salmon. To keep with the blackhead diet make sure that the salmon you buy for the recipe below is wild, Atlantic salmon, to make sure you get all those Omega-3 fatty acids your skin (and your brain!) so desperately desires.
Gluten is quite often a favorite bad-guy in many diets, and unfortunately we are going to include it into the blackhead diet as well!
Let me explain why:
Gluten is a protein in wheat and other grains (oat, barley, rye, spelt) that makes bread dough sticky. Now because of he fact it makes so many things feel and taste gummy, it’s in a wide variety of other items you would never expect it to be in (some ketchups and ice creams for example)!
Some people react really badly to gluten and are known to have what’s called celiac’s disease. Some symptoms include diarrhea, intense abdominal pain, fatigue and bloating.
This however is not the same as gluten sensitivity, in which symptoms are similar to celiac disease but not as immediate and arise over time. People with gluten sensitivity also complain of headaches, muscle and joint weakness, skin problems, and neurological issues like brain fog and depression. There is no way to definitively diagnose it, but a recent study led by University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research confirmed that gluten sensitivity is distinct from celiac disease in the type of immune response it elicits from the body, providing direct evidence of its mechanism and existence. Even though you wouldn’t be following a blackhead diet specifically, all this doesn’t sound too good in general to have around in your day-to-day diet anyway :)!
This is all very nice info, but how does this tie in to acne?
Researchers behind the Maryland study claim that the inflammatory response that begins in the gut’s reaction to gluten then spreads to other parts of the body. More investigation is needed on gluten sensitivity’s direct impact on the skin, but the connection between the gut and skin has been studied extensively.
In sensitive individuals, gluten acts in two ways. First, it alters the integrity of the gut, creating cracks in the gut lining that allow toxins to recirculate back into the system. Second, because gluten-sensitive people cannot properly digest gluten, these large molecules enter the bloodstream, and the immune system recognizes them as invaders, activating an immune response that increases inflammation, which in turn can result in acne. This kind of immune response also triggers the release of insulin, which results in raised hormone levels, another cause of acne.
Check out this infographic I found from pinterest:
Some good recipes to fit the blackhead diet:
Blackhead diet recipe #1: Smoked salmon with prawns, horseradish cream & lime vinaigrette
This recipe is excellent against blackheads and acne as it has no sources of excess unhealthy oils, it features lean protein in the shrimps and salmon and is just overall yummy!
1 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tsp horseradish sauce
4 slices smoked salmon
10 large cooked prawn, peeled but tails left one
For the salad
juice 1 lime, finely grated zest of ½
1 tsp clear honey
½ tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
2 tbsp light olive oil
2 handfuls small leaf salad
Mix the crème fraîche with the horseradish and a little salt and pepper. For the dressing, whisk the lime juice and zest with the honey, ginger and seasoning, then whisk in the oil. Lay the smoked salmon and prawns on 2 plates, then top with a dollop of the horseradish cream. Toss the salad in most of the dressing and pile on top. Drizzle the remaining dressing around the plate and serve.
Blackhead diet recipe #2: Cheesy Autumn mushrooms
This hearty autumn dish contains plenty of earthy products such as nuts, mushrooms and a fair amount of cheese. The earthy ingedients give nutrients to your skin making sure the balance within your sebacous glands remain as they should, causing blackheads and acne to disappear and thus fitting the blackhead diet prefectly.
|4 large field mushrooms|
|100 g gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled|
|25g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped|
|4 thyme sprigs|
|knob butter, in small pieces|
|rocket leaves, to serve|
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking tray. Scatter over the cheese, walnuts, thyme sprigs and butter. You can do up to this stage a day in advance.
Pop in the oven and cook for 10 mins until the cheese is melted and the mushrooms are softened. Arrange some rocket leaves on plates and place the mushrooms on top.
Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to see a weekly meal plan to fit your blackhead diet!