Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

Diet and Wrinkles

Today I spoke at the University of Miami – Well Being/Being Well Conference.  I spoke about sun protection, skin care, and natural therapies.  The participants were so excited to hear about all of the newer natural therapies in skin care and I promise to keep you updated on this information in my upcoming blogs.

After my session, I attended the luncheon and the speaker was Dr. Andrew Weil.  He is a pioneer in integrative medicine which incorporates diet, exercise, alternative medicine, and an overall holistic approach into the practice of medicine.  His talk focused mainly on the negative impact of processed foods on our overall health.

I started to think about how processed food could also impact our skin.  Well there are a few studies looking at diet and wrinkles.  The largest was an international study that examined the diets of over 400 adults(over 70 years old)  in Australia, Greece, and Sweden.  The investigators found that diet did play a significant role in wrinkling in sun-exposed skin.  People that ate foods such as green leafy vegetables, fish and whole grains had less wrinkles.  In addition, diets rich in good fats such as olive oil were also associated with younger looking skin.

Not surprisingly, diets filled with red meat and less healthy carbohydrates were associated with more wrinkling.  I truly believe that we need to eliminate or at least minimize the amount of processed food in our diet for a myriad of health reasons.  This study suggests that a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats may also prevent wrinkles too!

Omega 3: A superfood for the skin?

Omega 3 is a fatty acid that is an essential fatty acid found in seafood.  Our bodies can’t make Omega 3 so we need to supply our body with this nutrient through our diet.  Many people have proposed that Omega 3 is especially important for the skin.  There are even a few very small studies to support this theory.  Foods rich in Omega 3 have been associated with lower rates of acne.  In one study, teenagers who consumed a diet rich in fish and seafood had lower rates of acne. Another small series of 5 patients who took Omega 3 supplements had decreased inflammatory acne and improvement in global aspects of well being.  We also know that one large international study showed that people with diets rich in whole grains, healthy oils, and seafood looked younger.  Interestingly, deficiency in Omega 3 causes dry, itchy skin. For all of these reasons, I think it is reasonable to say that diets rich in Omega 3 are good for the skin.  Aside from seafood, some other foods rich in Omega 3 are walnuts and flaxseed.  One-quarter cup of walnuts contains around 2.3 grams. So a half a cup of walnuts would provide enough Omega 3 for the daily requirement of 4 grams.  One-quarter cup of flaxseeds contains around 7 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids.  So make sure you are consuming enough Omega 3 in your diet-your skin will thank you for it!

Acne Myth #2

Myth #2: Fried foods and greasy foods like pizza cause acne.

This is a tough one to answer because it is a little complicated, but here we go…  Until recently, it was not believed that diet had any relation to acne.  But recent studies looking at diet have suggested that milk and high glycemic diets may be associated with acne.  In one study, high milk consumption was associated with higher rates of acne.  The reason for this is unclear but excessive milk consumption appears to contribute to acne.

High glycemic diets are diets high in simple sugars.  Every food has a glycemic index.  Foods with a high glycemic index cause a rapid and high peak in insulin when that food is consumed.  Processed foods high in simple sugars, potatoes, and candy have high glycemic indexes.  High fiber foods like whole grains and vegetables cause a more gradual peak in insulin and are therefore have a low glycemic index.

Studies show that people in countries with diets rich in whole grains and vegetables (low glycemic diets) have lower rates on acne.  When these individuals move to countries with diets rich in simple sugars and processed foods, acne increases.  So just like I mentioned in my previous blog on chocolate and acne, stick to a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables if you have acne.  You may not only see an improvement in your acne but you will get all of the other health benefits too.

Acne Myths

Acne is the most common skin condition that dermatologists see.  Patients frequently ask me about common acne myths and I wanted to take some time over the next few blogs to discuss these.

Myth #1: Chocolate causes acne

This is a very interesting myth because a study has actually been done on this topic.  I know what you’re thinking–sign me up!  In the study they actually made the participants eat chocolate daily to see if they got more pimples.  The good news is that they didn’t get more pimples.   So chocolate does not cause acne.  But does eating sugary food like chocolate cause acne?  The answer to that question is more complicated.  But the short answer is that it does appear that diets that high in sugary foods may be linked to acne.  So if you have acne, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables may help.   This gives us one more reason eat a healthy well balanced diet.