Foods to Eliminate for Healthier Skin

Foods to Eliminate for Healthier Skin

It is important to see food as something we consume to nourish the body rather than to simply fill us up! Below are 11 food categories to eliminate for 30 days (or longer!) to help your insides balance so your outward skin glows!

  • Sugar (agave syrup, cane sugar, corn syrup, sugar): Aside from skin problems, sugar also contributes to a higher risk of fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and obesity. Besides the obvious foods that contain sugar—candy, cookies, etc—sugar can also be an ingredient in condiments, bread, tomato sauce and a host of other unsuspecting foods! It is skin damaging because it is highly acidic and throws off the delicate pH within the body. It is also pro-inflammatory, increases insulin, which can trigger acne. Sugar also damages collagen, which accelerates skin’s aging.
  • Dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, milk yogurt): Dairy is pro-inflammatory and a common food allergen. Milk from cows contains natural hormones that help calves grow. Even if the label says “hormone free”, it is impossible to by-pass all hormones. These hormones create imbalances when they interact with the body’s natural hormones. Also, milk contains lactose, which is a sugar that has the potential for damaging skin. Skim milk has been found to have a greater correlation with acne than any other type of dairy!
  • Gluten (any gluten containing grain or grain product such as bread and cereal): Gluten-containing foods are one of the top allergenic food categories and contributes to inflammation. There are many levels of gluten reaction from celiac with severe digestive issues to intolerance and sensitivities. Any level of reaction can increase the digestive tract lining’s permeability allowing proteins to cross the lining and get into your bloodstream (leaky gut syndrome). The immune system will then go into overdrive, increasing inflammation and triggering acne and other skin conditions.
  • Alcohol (beer, liquor, wine): Alcohol is high in sugar—and we have learned that sugar in inflammatory and negatively impacts skin health as well as internal health. Alcohol is also dehydrating—not something anyone wants to associate with their skin! It is also tough on our livers and that can cause important nutrient deficiencies. But what about red wine? Red wine does contain some resveratrol and some research suggests a link between moderate consumption of alcohol and a reduced risk of heart disease, however there are many other ways to obtain antioxidants (including resveratrol) and promote heart health that don’t include alcohol and the health risks associated with it. The amount of resveratrol in a glass of red wine is not as significant as what you would obtain from eating a bunch of grapes!
  • Caffeine (chocolate, coffee, tea, soda): Caffeine is dehydrating, acidic and can cause depletion of certain skin enhancing vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin D, and magnesium. Caffeine is also a stimulant that can be taxing on our adrenals and neurologic system. This stress response leads to a release of cortisol which can trigger acne and also speed the aging process. If you just can’t give up the caffeine, be sure to limit the amount you intake and be sure to choose the cleanest and least process sources possible.
  • Eggs: Typically considered a superfood because of their high protein and B vitamins, they are also one of the most common food allergens—second only to dairy. When it comes to skin, food allergies can trigger skinflammation presenting as eczema and acne. If you have questions regarding eggs being a culprit in your skin issues, try eliminating both whites and yolks for 30 days and see how your skin is affected. Re-introduce slowly and evaluate.
  • Corn: Corn is a grain! Although it is a gluten-free grain, it is still one of the most common food allergies due to it being the most common genetically modified crops (GMO). Sensitivity to corn may not necessarily be due to the corn itself, but to the way it is modified. Corn is also the highest produced and highest consumed grains across the globe! Read ingredient labels and you will see corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, hydrolyzed corn, artificial flavors (that are corn-based)—even the shiny coating on magazine covers contain corn! It is in the majority of sodas and processed foods sold in stores in the United States. Again, food allergies and sensitivities will show in the skin. Like eggs, try eliminating foods with corn ingredients for 30 days and see if there is a difference in your skin. Re-introduce slowly separately from other foods you have eliminated and re re-introducing so you can determine, without a doubt, any reaction.
  • Nightshades: Nightshades are fruits and vegetables that belong to the Solanaceae Plant family and some people have difficulty digesting them. They include eggplant, goji berries, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and tomatillos. A sensitivity to nightshades may cause gas, bloating, nausea, painful joints, headaches, moodiness and skin issues. As with eggs and corn, try eliminating these foods for 30 days if you are not sure if you have an issue and re-introduce slowly and separately from other foods to determine a reaction.
  • Peanuts (peanuts, peanutbutter): Peanuts are a legume, not a nut. They are a top food allergen which will show on the skin. Peanuts can grow a fungus called Aspergillus Flavus (also agricultural products) when they are improperly stored and produces aflatoxin which is toxic to our liver and a known carcinogen. Aflatoxin is most prevalent in raw peanuts (although it can be in cooked) however, there is less risk in roasted peanuts. Aflatoxin exposure can also happen by consuming meat or dairy products from animals that ate contaminated feed.
  • Soy (edamame, soy milk, tofu). Soy is another legume that is great for protein and fiber. The problem is that soy, like corn, is highly genetically modified. A sensitivity to the modification will show on the skin.
  • Processed Foods: Although processed foods are easy and convenient in our busy lives AND they most often (as in fast food!) look like what we would make and serve ourselves and our family if we made the meal ourselves. However, that is far from the truth! Processed, packaged foods and fast foods contain a myriad of artificial ingredients to ensure color, texture, taste, smell are consistent and have some shelf-life.

These convenience foods also contain hydrogenated vegetable oils, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and other processed oils that contain toxic by-products as a result of the processing, that can harm cellular membrane function—not just in the skin. Vegetable oils, seed oils, canola oils are some of the worst oils for skin and health.

Although some food manufacturers are getting away from using high fructose corn syrup, this harmful ingredient is still in use in many foods from beverages to ketchup to cereals. Read ingredient labels! High fructose corn syrup rapidly and significantly elevates blood sugar levels that affect our internal health and eventually show on our skin. Fruit juices and smoothies can also contain loads of sugar, which we already know has dire consequences to our health. Diet drinks come with a whole host of other problems. Best beverage is clean, filtered water with fruit or herb infusion.



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