Low glycemic foods for a better complexion
Dealing with acne isn't fun. It can be incredibly frustrating if you've tried every remedy possible to no avail. Unfortunately, acne is a complicated condition. Treating it comes down to using the right kind of skincare products and eating the right kind of food. Research has found that breakouts are associated with certain foods. Want to know more? Here's your guide to the anti-acne diet.
Acne and the glycemic index
What the heck is the glycemic index, and what does it have to do with acne? A lot. The glycemic index is a system for ranking carbohydrate foods based on how they affect blood sugar levels. Foods that are considered high glycemic index spike your blood sugar, while foods that are low glycemic index help you maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Research suggests that high glycemic index foods cause more outbreaks. When blood sugar rises, a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 also increases, leading to more oil production. The result? Unpleasant breakouts.
High glycemic index foods include:
- White potatoes
- White rice
- White flour
Foods that are low glycemic index include:
- Most vegetables
- Plain yogurt
- Whole wheat pasta
- Bulgur wheat
- Most fruits
- Sweet potatoes
- Sprouted wheat bread
- Brown rice
To manage acne, you should try to consume foods that are low glycemic index combined with lean proteins and healthy fats. Good sources of protein include fish, tofu, and chicken. Most people notice a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of breakouts they experience within three months of following a low glycemic index diet.
Eating low GI is easy
Going on a low glycemic index diet doesn't have to be complicated. Just make a list of low glycemic index foods you enjoy, and create some meals using them. Need some inspiration? Check out the recipes below.
1. Egg white omelet
This breakfast recipe combines low GI foods with protein and healthy fats.
- One box liquid egg whites (about ten egg whites)
- 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup each chopped onions, mushrooms, spinach, and green peppers
- Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a pan
- Saute the onions, mushrooms, and green peppers
- Pour in egg whites
- Cook for a few minutes
- Add the spinach
- Cook until eggs are done
- Season with cayenne
2. Mixed avocado salad
Serve this low glycemic index dish with some baked chicken or fish for a healthy meal.
- 1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 1/4 avocado, chopped
- One small can of tuna (in water) or one hard-boiled egg
- Shredded carrot
- Shredded beet or any other non-starchy vegetable
- Lemon juice
- One teaspoon olive oil
- Prepare your protein of choice
- Add chopped lettuce and spinach to a bowl
- Add avocado
- Add protein
- Add carrot, beets, or preferred non-starchy vegetable
- Add dressing
- Toss to combine
3. Spaghetti squash with chicken, mushrooms, and spinach
This low-glycemic take on a fresh pasta dish is perfect for dinner.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- One spaghetti squash
- One boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup white mushrooms
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Halve your spaghetti squash and scoop out seeds
- Place on a baking dish and drizzle the insides with olive oil
- Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper
- Turn the spaghetti squash cut side down and poke holes using a fork
- Roast for 30-40 minutes
- Add olive oil to a pan
- Grill chicken breast in the pan, then set aside
- Add more olive oil
- Add mushrooms
- Add spinach once mushrooms are nearly done
- Remove spaghetti squash from oven
- Scrap the inside of the spaghetti squash out using a fork
- Assemble spaghetti squash, sautéed mushrooms, and spinach
- Top with grilled chicken
Clear skin comes from within
Acne is frustrating to deal with, but the frequency and severity of outbreaks have a lot to do with your diet. Follow a diet rich in low glycemic index foods, and watch your skin gradually clear up. Make sure, too, to consult with a dermatologist about the right type of skincare products you should be using.
- "4 Easy Tips for Eating Low on the Glycemic Index," Eating Well, December 2007.
- "A List of Low to High GI Foods," Shape, n.d.
- "The Diet That Helps with Adult Acne," Huffington Post, January 1, 2017.