Can eating vegetables help stop acne? Learn how spinach, carrots and tomatoes can promote clear skin.


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What are the best vegetables for acne?

Eating more fresh vegetables can make a big difference for healthy skin


Vegetables are one of the key components of an acne-free diet, and they're one that many of us don't get enough of. All too often salads and greens are seen as merely optional sides or appetizers, but if you've got acne, these are essential foods that you should be eating every day.


Most every vegetable packs benefits for your skin, although some are certainly better than others. You should always try to eat your veggies fresh & raw. They lose a lot of their nutrient value when heated, which means that the vegetables fried in Chinese food or cooked in canned soups don't count.


Three vegetables you should eat every day


When it comes to health advice, the word "vegetables" is often preceded by the words "leafy" and "green". There's a reason for that. You really can't go wrong with leafy green vegetables. They all tend to be rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals that help detoxify your body, including some key nutrients that are especially important for clear skin. It doesn't hurt that they're a non-factor for fat and carbs either.


One of the easiest and most common leafy green veggies is lettuce. It's the base of almost every salad, and is certainly healthy for you. But why settle for lettuce, when you can have spinach? Among the "leafy green" group of veggies, spinach is my top pick for acne sufferers. Compared to lettuce, spinach packs more vitamin A, more zinc, more magnesium, iron, vitamin E, vitamin K, etc. It just packs more when it comes to many of the most important nutrients for combating acne. So grab some spinach leaves the next time you're buying groceries. It might be marginally more expensive than iceberg lettuce, but the benefits (and the flavor) are worth it.


Another great vegetable for your skin is carrots. As their name suggests, carrots are super rich in beta carotene, which is the biological precursor to vitamin A. If you've checked out our vitamins for acne guide or my article on power vitamins, you know how impactful vitamin A can be for stopping acne (by lowering your body's sebum production). However, you also know that taking vitamin A can result in some serious side effects. Well, one of the great things about carrots is that when you get your beta carotene this way - rather than taking a vitamin A supplement - the risk of side effects is greatly reduced, plus your body is better able to absorb and utilize the vitamin. Carrots really are the best way for acne sufferers to get that essential dose of vitamin A.


OK, now I'm totally going to cheat, as this one is technically a fruit, but eating more tomatoes is something every acne sufferer should do. Tomatoes are packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, along with a healthy dose of niacin and several key minerals. They're also surprisingly (and strangely?) beneficial when applied topically. Applying tomato slices or a tomato paste mask to your face can tighten your pores, brighten your skin tone, help normalize oily skin and encourage regeneration.


So make a salad, you lazy bum!


You may have noticed that all three of my recommended vegetables can be easily served in a single dish. This wondrous concoction is called a salad. Salads are awesome, because they're not only healthy, but require very little preparation (I make them in less than 5 minutes) and go with everything.


Salads are super easy and they don't have to taste bland. Seriously, this is all there is to it: toss some spinach leaves into a bowl, add a few grape tomatoes and sliced carrots (you can even buy them pre-sliced), drizzle on a light dressing or vinaigrette, and that's it. You're done. Easy! Of course, if you want to get creative and add some other veggies to the mix (cucumbers are also great for combating acne), go for it.


Besides salads, if you need a quick vegetable fix, another good option is juice. You can buy carrot juice, tomato juice and even spinach juice (or all of them together in some vegetable juices) and get a strong dose of all the same great nutrients, although you do miss out on the fiber. Just make sure to avoid sugar.


Other veggies and what to avoid


There are, of course, other vegetables that are also great for clear skin. Broccoli is a very potent source of antioxidants and other nutrients, and garlic (as mentioned on our herbal remedies page) has some powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The simple fact is that most vegetables are very healthy. However, a high intake of certain veggies can potentially work against you.


These are mainly the vegetables that are especially high in carbohydrates, such as potatoes and corn. Sometimes it's not even the vegetables themselves that are to blame, but how they are prepared. As I mentioned above, it's best to get your veggies fresh and raw, but who eats raw potatoes? Usually they get fried up or mashed with sour cream, etc., and the resulting foods are not the best thing for your skin. So be smart!


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