How Adding 10 Fruits & Vegetables A Day To My Diet Cleared My Acne

Photo: Jill Therese

Something had to give. I was 25 years old and had been struggling with acne for 15 years since I was 9 years old.

I was standing in my tenth dermatologist's office and she was telling me she couldn't help me because I had "tried everything" ... there wasn't "any more medicine to offer me" ... but she did "have a $500 light treatment that may or may not work"... and I just couldn't take it anymore. As I left her office in tears that day, I finally had the "aha" moment I had been needing for years. In that moment, I realized that the only thing I hadn't tried to heal my acne was my food.

The food that I was eating, that I had been eating my entire life, was ruining my skin. That day, I went home, threw away everything I was currently trying to heal my acne with—five topical creams, one birth control pill, and two antibiotics sitting on the bathroom counter—and devoted myself to clearing my acne naturally.

It's now been six years since that day and six years since I've had a breakout. It was the best/worst dermatologist appointment ever. If you struggle with adult acne and you've been told by a doctor that food is not the issue, take a gander below. Following the next three steps could drastically clear your skin. I hope they help.

Here are three steps you can take to start to heal your acne naturally:

1. Start to substitute artificial sugars with real sugars.

Studies have shown that blood sugar, and specifically the hormones insulin and insulin growth factor 1, have a significant impact on your acne. When you eat a lot of sugar, your pancreas secretes insulin to regulate the rising blood sugar levels that are the result of your double chocolate chip cookie snack. This sets off a chain reaction in your body that may help to create the perfect environment for a breakout.

OK, so we all know sugar is bad; however, did your stomach just do a double flip when I suggested the whole cutting-out-the-most-delicious-item-in-your-life thing? Here is where I have everyone start: Don't focus on never eating another cookie or cake, etc., again. Just focus on grabbing a really delicious and satisfying fruit—like a pineapple, a kiwi, a big bunch of berries—instead of something like a cookie or a Coke every day.

Don't think about how you can never eat sugar again (I have one sweet treat a week, and my skin is completely fine with that), focus on creating healthier habits, and clear skin will follow from that. This step alone has been one of the most powerful steps for most of the people I see, and it can be really transformative if you are consistent with it.

2. Add 10 fruits and vegetables, a day, into your diet.

Most acne sufferers are struggling with low- to high-grade inflammation. When your body, on the whole, is inflamed, you can understand why this inflammation may also show up in your skin. Adding a ton of fruits and vegetables to your diet is a great way to start to bring high levels of inflammation down; it's healing your body from the inside out.

However, if you're not already a big veggie and/or fruit eater, this suggestion may sound crazy to you, so, here is a sample day of how you can add in 10 fruits and veggies in the easiest way possible. For breakfast, add a mixed berry bowl to the side of whatever you normally have and then, as a snack, add in a green apple midmorning. For lunch, grab a huge salad with at least five veggies. I go for Romaine, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery, and then I add whatever I'd like on top. Or on the side, you pick. Then, at dinner, take whatever you'd normally have and saute up some asparagus and mushrooms on the side.

You don't have to change anything about your current diet (you may want to once you see how great these veggies and fruits feel); all you have to focus on is adding in more veggies and fruits. The first day might feel a little bit weird, but after a few days, any tummy bloat you might struggle with probably go down significantly, and your skin may start to look a bit calmer. That's the veggies working!

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3. Take a digestive supplement.

Healing the bacteria in my stomach was huge, huge, huge for me. I had no idea, but the antibiotics I had taken for years to heal my acne had severely damaged the bacteria in my stomach, and as a result, my skin was negatively affected. When I started focusing on my digestion, my skin completely transformed. Within weeks!

Here are the first two steps you can take if you have no idea where to start in terms of healing your belly bacteria: Head over to Whole Foods (or a health food store) and find a good probiotic to take daily. This will start to add more healthy bacteria into your digestive tract, which may really support some skin clearing. Then, if you want to go a step further, find some kombucha at the store as well, a fermented beverage you can find in the refrigerated drink section that contains live bacterial cultures, and start to drink one of these two to three times a week.

Following these three steps—removing artificial sugar, adding in 10 fruits and veggies, and starting a probiotic supplement—can have a powerful impact on your skin if you stay consistent and committed, so I hope you give them a try!

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