The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 11, 2013

Link between diet and acne unsure, but vitamins and minerals may help

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Q: I am wondering what foods will promote clear skin. I don’t eat a lot of sweets and drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.

A: Diet’s role on acne has been a much-debated topic. Science has been slow to accept that diet may have an effect on acne, but recent studies are hinting at a link between a high-glycemic diet and frequent dairy consumption. Important to note is that diet doesn’t necessarily cause acne, but it may influence or aggravate it.

Glycemic index refers to the way your body responds to a carbohydrate food. If you would like to follow a low-glycemic diet to test your individual response, be sure to choose whole foods over processed foods. For example: whole-wheat bread has a lower glycemic response than white bread; whole fruits/veggies have lower glycemic responses than juice. If you decide to limit your dairy intake, be sure to find other ways to meet your calcium and vitamin D requirements.

Because your skin is the largest organ of your body, it makes sense to follow a diet that is best for your body. Here are vitamins and minerals that have been known to be healthy for your skin.

- Vitamin A or Retinol is found not only in some cosmetic creams but also in liver and fish oils. Produced by plants, this vitamin is also known as called Beta-carotene, and is found in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables; yams, cantaloupe, carrots and apricots. It is also found in green vegetables like spinach, kale and parsley.

- B Vitamins. These vitamins are found in leafy vegetables, fish, milk, eggs and whole grains and have many functions. B Vitamins have been known to help with stress relief as well as providing an anti-inflammatory effect on skin.

- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides anti-inflammatory properties and has helped penetrate skin and prevent the return of acne. Examples of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes, and green peppers.

- Zinc (found in eggs, mushrooms, nuts and whole grains) and selenium (a trace mineral in most soils and absorbed by a variety of vegetables) are known to improve the overall health of the body, including the skin.

- Omega-3s found in fatty fish, walnuts, chia, flax seeds and supplements are strong anti-inflammatories and are beneficial beyond the skin.