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Anti-Acne Foods

By Clay McNight ; Updated July 18, 2017

Acne, contrary to popular belief, can be influenced through diet. A 2009 issue of “Dermato-endocrinology” makes this point in a paper titled “The Relationship of Diet and Acne.” The paper notes that there is in fact a close relationship between the two. Research has shown that by consuming diets rich in vitamins A and E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, you can improve your skin and help prevent acne.

Clinical Studies

Although many different nutrients may potentially be important in promoting clear skin, a 2006 study published in "Clinical and Experimental Dermatology” concluded that vitamins A and E may be among the most important of these nutrients. Low levels of these vitamins was found to aggravate acne. A 2013 paper published in “Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology” had similar findings. The paper concluded that foods rich in vitamins A and E, as well as the mineral zinc, were useful in treating acne.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a rather easy nutrient to come by, as it is present both animal and vegetarian foods. Five of the most rich sources of vitamin A include sweet potatoes, beef liver, spinach, carrots and pumpkin pie. One whole sweet potato contains 561 percent of the daily value of vitamin A; 3 ounces of pan-fried beef liver, 444 percent; half a cup of frozen, boiled spinach, 229 percent; half a cup of raw carrots,184 percent; and one slice of commercially prepared pumpkin pie, 249 percent.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is primarily present in different oils and nuts. Five of the richest sources of vitamin E are wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower oil and safflower oil. One tablespoon of wheat germ oil contains 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin E; 1 ounce of dry-roasted sunflower seeds, 37 percent; 1 ounce of dry-roasted almonds, 34 percent; 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, 28 percent; and 1 tablespoon of safflower oil, 25 percent.

Mining for Zinc

Zinc is another relatively easy acne-fighting nutrient to consume, as it is present in many animal food sources. Five of the most rich sources of zinc include oysters, beef roast, crab, fortified breakfast cereals and lobster. A 3-ounce portion of cooked oysters contains a whopping 493 percent of the daily value of zinc; 3 ounces of beef chuck roast, 47 percent; 3 ounces of Alaska King crab, 43 percent; a 3/4-cup serving of fortified breakfast cereal, 25 percent; and 3 ounces of lobster, 23 percent.

Omega-3 Oils

A 2012 study in “Lipids in Health and Disease” concluded that fish oil may improve acne, particularly in those with moderate to severe acne. Fish that are known to be high in beneficial oils include mackerel, salmon, anchovies, trout, sardines and tuna.

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