It’s no secret that “you are what you eat”, and this remains true for our skin. Our body’s largest organ can often be our most problematic in the realm of beauty. We frequently find ourselves applying lotions and potions in attempt to deal with breakouts, pigmentation, inflammation amongst other issues, yet overlook one of the most fundamental building blocks of good skin; our gut health…
So, “what is ‘gut health?” I hear you ask… Gut health refers to the microbiome that exists within our gut that is combination of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Hold on… isn’t bacteria a bad thing? Many of us associate bacteria with dirt or germs, but this is not always the case. Certain bacteria are essential to our immune systems, heart, weight amongst other aspects of our health.
Why Gut Health?
Having a healthy gut microbiome is essential for balanced gut function, which aids in many bodily processes. Researchers have found that an unbalanced gut microbiome can cause a release in pro-inflammatory cytokines throughout the body, which can cause various reactions and irritations such as breakouts, redness, sensitivity and ageing to show on our skin. Our gut is also responsible for how we absorb nutrients, meaning that if it isn’t in optimal condition, our skin can miss out on the essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy fats it needs to flourish.
So this is the big question… we’ve compiled an easy list of tips and tricks to keep your gut in prime condition to allow your skin to glow!
We all know that our diet is important. As a rule of thumb, having a diverse gut microbiome is a healthy one. By having a range of species of bacteria in your gut, you open the doors to a range of benefits that they may bring about. One way to promote a diverse microbiome is to eat a diverse range of foods. This sounds easy to do, but our western diet is less diverse than one would initially think – an estimated 75% of the worlds food is derived from only 12 plant and 5 animal species! Celebrity nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson recommends eating whole foods including flax-seeds, leafy greens, and hydrating fruits to boost your gut health and keep your skin radiant!
In addition to consuming nutritious whole foods, healthy fats are a must. Foods high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, such as olive oil, avocado and chia seeds, are integral to the building of our cell membranes which helps keep the top layer of our skin strong, keeping out external pollutants and toxins. On the other hand, sugar and artificial sweeteners aren’t so kind to our gut health and skin. Consumption of too much sugar can create an imbalance of the sugar metabolism which can contribute to acne as well as accelerate ageing in our skin. This is because this can cause a depletion in collagen which changes the appearance of our skin, coming out as fine lines, wrinkles and dryness, as our skin loses elasticity and ability to maintain hydration.
Probiotics are minute microorganisms that have the ability to provide their host with a multitude of health benefits. Remember how we were talking about types of bacteria? This is the good kind! We absolutely want probiotics in our system, as they aid in healthy body systems and can control microorganisms that we don’t want in the body, such as germs. Having the right level of probiotics in the body is key, as this is when they can assist digestion and increase nutrient absorption. If you are looking to increase your intake of probiotics, the good news is that you’ve got options!
Probiotics naturally occur in some of the foods we eat, particularly in fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and probiotic yoghurt. However, if that isn’t your cup of tea, there are also plenty of probiotic supplements that you can easily add to your daily vitamin routine! Whether you choose to add probiotics into your diet through whole foods or supplements, your skin will reap the benefits as probiotics are known to help to decrease inflammation in the gut that can cause skin issues.
Whilst this may seem an obvious one, staying hydrated is often easier said than done! Hydration is an integral part of having good digestion and a healthy gut. This allows water to move nutrients around the body to assist in the removal of waste and other toxins. Additionally, fluid that we ingest is used to carry acids and enzymes responsible for breaking down food in our small intestine. This is also related to inflammation, as when we are dehydrated, it is difficult for food to travel through the digestive system, causing our intestines to become irritated due to the lack of assistance that fluids provide. This irritation overtime can cause gut inflammation which can came out as inflammation in our skin.
Although there are some amazing topical skincare products on the market which we love to use, we can’t ignore the fact that beauty often starts on the inside, and this is certainly the case when thinking about the effect our gut health can have on our skin. Call it a gut feeling, but we recommend trying our tricks along with a great skincare routine, so that you can truly glow from the inside out!