The diet’s lack of sugar-heavy and processed foods can help calm skin irritation
The diet’s emphasis on legumes might help to minimise skin redness and irritation
Your diet can have both positive and negative impacts on your skin and so it’s no surprise that when you decide to follow the Mediterranean diet, your skin could react in new ways. The typical Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high intake of olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits, legumes, and a moderate consumption of fish and meat.
INSIDER consulted with experts to find out how the Mediterranean diet can affect your skin.
The Mediterranean diet may help with acne prevention
Foods included in this diet can help keep blood sugar levels stable which can help slow down acne development.
“The Mediterranean diet is rich in low-glycemic index foods; as such, the diet may offer protection against the development of acne,” Dr. Natalie Yin, dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center told INSIDER.
Some low-glycemic index foods permitted on the Mediterranean include oatmeal, nuts, fish, avocado, and legumes.
The Mediterranean diet can help your skin retain a soft and plump appearance
All those fruits and vegetables you’re eating on the Mediterranean diet are packed with vitamin C and this essential vitamin can help skin retain a plump and soft appearance.
“Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, which helps keep your skin supple and smooth. It also assists in wound healing and reduces fine lines and wrinkles,” cardiologist Dr. Luiza Petre told INSIDER.
Great sources of vitamin C that’s welcome in this diet include citrus fruit, red peppers, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, and kiwi.
The Mediterranean diet can help keep your skin feeling hydrated
The Mediterranean diet is loaded with foods that have a high water content and consuming them can make your skin feel extra hydrated.
“Fruits and vegetables foods have a high water content; up to about 80% water! An increase in fluids may help with your hydration and make your complexion appear less dry,” registered dietitian Tina Bauermeister told INSIDER.
Just keep in mind that even though munching on fruits and veggies is a great way to keep your skin feeling and looking good, it’s not a substitute for also drinking plenty of water while following any diet.
The antioxidant-rich diet can help prevent premature ageing
If you’re following the Mediterranean diet properly you’re probably eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods like berries and nuts. And these snacks might protect your skin from ageing before its time.
“Antioxidants battle cellular damage, protect from ageing prematurely and improve circulation. Blueberries rank number one in antioxidants, followed by beans, other berries, prunes, and pecans,” said Dr. Petre.
If you’re looking for delicious and easy way to squeeze more antioxidants into your diet, consider sprinkling a handful of blueberries and pecans onto your morning oatmeal or lunchtime salad.
The Mediterranean diet promotes a healthy gut biome that can help improve some skin conditions
By now, science has recognised the importance of keeping the good bacteria in our guts happy and healthy. The foods recommended in the Mediterranean diet are actually well-suited for supporting a healthy microbiome.
“High-fibre diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, promote a healthy gut microbiome. A diverse and healthy gut microbiome has been linked to decreased inflammation and improvements in certain skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea, and acne,” registered dietitian Bari Stricoff, MSc, told INSIDER.
It’s always a good idea to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Plus, focusing on getting enough fibre can have a positive effect on your gut and skin.
The diet’s lack of sugar-heavy and processed foods might help calm skin irritation
It’s not just about what’s on your plate – it’s also about what’s not on it. Those who follow the Mediterranean diet are supposed to lessen their consumption of refined sugar-heavy and processed foods that have been linked to skin irritation.
“The Mediterranean diet reduces the intake of refined sugar, processed and fried foods, all of which have very little nutritional benefits. These foods that [the diet reduces] are high in sugar and saturated/trans fat [and] are often linked to acne, breakouts, and skin irritations,” said Stricoff.
If you’re aiming for a glowing complexion, try to limit your intake of refined sugar and processed treats while ramping up your consumption of plants, whole grains, and healthy fats.
The diet’s emphasis on legumes might help lessen skin redness and irritation
Legumes are a filling and delicious part of the Mediterranean diet that add healthy bulk to plant-based meals. Plus, they might even help your complexion stay radiant.
“Legumes (or pulses): peas, chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts, and lentils are all plant proteins with fibre and minerals. These foods may help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn may help your skin and complexion,” said Bauermeister.
If skin redness and irritation is a concern for you, piling your plate with legumes might be helpful. You can try Mediterranean diet-friendly foods like hummus and raw veggies, lentil soup, or homemade baked beans.
There is some preliminary data that suggests the Mediterranean can slow the progression of psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition that can cause scaling and red patches on the skin. It’s a chronic disease with no known cure, but some studies have suggested that some diets can mitigate symptoms or slow the progression of it.
“Preliminary data suggests an inverse relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the severity of psoriasis,” said Dr. Yin.
A study published in the US National Library of Medicine suggested that omega-3 fatty acids might reduce the body’s inflammatory responses, which can lessen the severity of skin conditions like psoriasis. Notably, the Mediterranean diet contains a lot of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like tuna and albacore salmon. A different study published in the JAMA Dermatology Network in 2018 suggested that following the Mediterranean diet might also slow the progression of psoriasis.
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