Healthy Diet Healthy Skin

Diet and Inflammation

Many patients with inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and acne vulgaris, are interested in diet modification in conjunction with traditional therapies.

The glycemic index (GI) refers to a value assigned to a food based on how quickly it raises blood glucose.  Elevated blood sugar results in production of insulin, which is the hormone of fat storage.  Elevated insulin levels can eventually result in insulin resistance.  Fat storage increases the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and visceral fat production.  Visceral fat produces inflammatory cytokines and triggers insulin resistance.  For these reasons, patients with inflammatory skin diseases should reduce intake of high GI foods.

                                               Here are some quick tips:

  • Avoid skim and low fat milk. Studies show significantly more acne than those who drank whole milk.
  • Glycation of the skin occurs when cooking with high heat such as grilling or frying. Instead, try stewing, poaching, boiling, and steaming.  Cooking with acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can reduce glycation by 50%.
  • Gluten-free foods are not necessarily healthy, as many replace gluten with rapidly absorbing carbohydrates that trigger insulin resistance and visceral fat formation. Avoid white rice, corn, soy, and other starchy foods.
  • Mediterranean diet results in more weight loss, reduced insulin sensitivity, and a reduced inflammatory cytokine profile. Incorporate olive oil, some meat or dairy from grass-fed animals, and abundant wild caught fish.                                                                           Avoid farmed fish, whose diet can be supplemented with grain or soy.


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