We’ve all heard the old fable that chocolate gives you pimples. We’re here to assure you that it certainly does not, especially when it’s closest to its pure form. You’re welcome. However, there are many foods that can cause a cascade of reactions within the body and our delicate, complex hormonal system that will cause our skin to break out. Fortunately, we don’t have to completely avoid our favorite foods—we just have to make some conscientious swaps.
Whether or not we consider ourselves lactose intolerant, dairy doesn’t tend to bode well for the skin. Milk has a major impact on our insulin levels and insulin resistance, and high insulin levels produce a hormone called androgen. Androgen stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil than is necessary, which is a major culprit of acne.
Opt for mylk products.
There are so many simple swaps for dairy out there. Coconut milk or cream is excellent in baking and cooking, and there are barista blends of almond and oat milk for our lattes and a plethora of truly delicious nut-based cheeses and yogurts on the market. You may even find that you like them more!
Peanuts also raise androgen levels, which can cause excess sebum production and disoriented hormones. But they also contain lectins, which may cause severe inflammation in some people, which can lead to exacerbated breakouts and even digestive issues.
Opt for almonds.
Almonds, almond milk, almond butter, almond flour … there are many options from this nutrient-dense little nut to satisfy even the most avid peanut butter connoisseur.
Skip refined flours and sugars.
It’s no secret that white bread and processed sugar aren’t superfoods. Not only are they essentially devoid of all nutrition and are key players in the rise of obesity, but they also cause insulin levels to spike, raising androgen levels and making our sebaceous glands go haywire.
Opt for milled grains and natural sweeteners.
Most whole grains and gluten-free flours are not only more nourishing but also hearty and delicious, and packed with protein and fiber. There are also many natural sweeteners that won’t cause massive spikes in the glycemic index, like monk fruit and stevia.
Skip hydrogenated oils.
This one may sound tricky, because people don’t reach for hydrogenated oils on their own as a tasty snack. They are hiding out in most packaged snacks, fast food, coffee creamers, ready-to-use dough, pre-made baked goods, margarine, and other butter substitutes (even ones marketed as “healthy” and vegan, beware!). These are trans fats produced by adding hydrogen to liquid fats to preserve shelf life, and for no other nutritional reason. They are highly inflammatory, which can cause existing blemishes to worsen and spread as well as trigger new breakouts.
Opt for fresh goods.
Just say no to Twinkies and Ding Dongs, avoid fast food as often as possible, and cook with real fats like olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, and butter. Trust us, it’s yummier that way.