Every day as many as 40% of Americans will indulge in fast food according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). If you grew up in a typical American household, chances are your mother told you more than once that your love for junk food such as chocolate and greasy pizza will leave you with unsightly, acne-ridden skin. While what you eat definitely has an impact on your overall health and well-being, it is important to separate the truths from the myths as far as the effect on food on your skin is concerned. It is only once you do this that you will be able to look after your skin both from the outside and from within.

Common myths debunked

One of the most common myths regarding the effect of food on your skin that needs to be debunked is one involving everyone’s favourite sweet treat: chocolate. According to researchers, the effect chocolate has on your skin depends on not only where it comes from, but its ingredients as well. Although mass-produced chocolate bars that are filled with added sugar and preservatives may not be great for your skin or waistline, the exact opposite is true of good quality chocolate. Organic dark chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70% is filled with helpful antioxidants that protect not only your organs but your skin as well. If you are sensitive to dairy you may also experience an acne flare-up when you eat chocolate but otherwise you should be fine if you stick to good quality products.

Not all oils were created equal

While eating your favorite greasy foods such as burgers, pizza, and Buffalo wings won’t necessarily cause your face to erupt in pimples it is important to remember that fried food can cause inflammation. Vegetable oils used for deep-frying as well as margarine may not be the best choice if you want to sport a clear complexion. Instead, opt for healthy fats and oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, butter, and ghee that are filled with Omega-3s that can fight off inflammation and keep your skin looking radiant.

Be mindful of your coffee consumption

Although coffee is not inherently bad for you, it is a natural diuretic that can dry your skin out if you drink too much of it. As long as you consume coffee and other caffeinated drinks in moderation, make sure you remain well-hydrated and use a good moisturizer you should be able to prevent your skin from becoming dry and flaky. Moderate coffee consumption can, in fact, be of great benefit to your overall health. Not only can it reduce your risk of contracting heart disease but it can also help ward off diabetes, depression, and obesity.


The best food choices for your skin

Contrary to popular belief enjoying the occasional bar of chocolate or plate of fries will not give you acne, nor will glugging down copious amounts of coffee give you a flawless complexion. A nutrient-dense, balanced diet that is conducive of overall good health will be beneficial to your skin as well. Aim to follow a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats filled with Omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t forget that foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as leafy greens, blueberries, and dark chocolate, can help protect your skin against free radicals as well as damage caused by the sun.

Fad diets are a big no-no

If you want to lose weight but do not want to compromise your complexion in the process you need to stay as far away from fad diets as possible. Many trending diets result in large amounts of weight being lost (and often regained) in a very short period of time. This results in the face responding to the drastic weight fluctuations in an undesirable way. Depending on the basic nutrients you deprive your body of your skin can either become dry and flaky or break out in spots while also losing fat in areas such as the mid-face where you ultimately need it the most.

While the age-old statement ‘you are what you eat’ does carry some merit, it is important to conduct some research of your own before blindly buying into any rumors. By simply following a healthy, balanced diet you will be able to keep your skin as healthy as possible.