As a nutritionist, I’ve always believed in the powerful connection between our skin’s health and our gut health.
You see, you’re not what you eat; you’re what you digest and absorb. The gut is the cornerstone of good health. In fact, it’s where 70 to 80 per cent of the immune system lies. When your gut is functioning optimally, you will notice better energy, skin, mood and immune function. It is really important to take care of your gut health.
On the flipside, if your digestive system is sluggish, you may experience constipation, diarrhea, bloating, hormonal imbalance, skin issues and more. Yes, it’s true that what’s happening on the inside will be reflected on the outside. There’s research that proves that our gut microbiome is linked to acne. A study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that a disrupted gut barrier is linked to inflammation, which can influence acne.
Here are some handy tips to help you understand why digestion plays a key role in your skin’s health:
- It helps you absorb nutrients: The absorption of nutrients is an essential factor in maintaining healthy skin. If your gut isn’t functioning optimally, it can’t absorb the vital nutrients your skin needs to thrive.
- It clears toxic build up: The gut helps to eliminate toxins, so if your digestive system is compromised, you may not be eliminating toxins as effectively. A poorly functioning gut can re-absorb these toxins, which can show up in your skin – leading to blemishes, pimples, acne and other common skin conditions.
- Reduces inflammation. If your gut flora is imbalanced (officially called dysbiosis), it can cause leaky gut and inflammation. This can lead to an immune reaction in the body, which results in redness, swelling and breakouts of the skin. There’s research that shows how our gut microbiome is linked to acne. A study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that a disrupted gut barrier is linked to inflammation, which can influence acne.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your gut health and thereby improve your skin and complexion.
Here are a few tips to help you along:
- Eat real food: I simply can’t emphasize this enough. Stick to good-quality proteins; healthy fats, plenty of greens, veggies, nuts, seeds and pulses. Eliminate processed, packaged and convenience foods, and steer clear of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Optimise digestive enzymes: Having good amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps to break down food, thereby aiding digestion. I recommend sipping on two litres of water with a dash of apple cider vinegar throughout the day.
- Supplement: To support your gut, I recommend taking a probiotic under the guidance of a medical practitioner.
- Enjoy probiotic-rich foods: Fermented foods, such as kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir, are great for the gut and reduce inflammation, support digestion and enhance metabolism.
- Stay hydrated: Each day, aim to drink two litres of water. This can be aided by enjoying some herbal tea and putting two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into your water bottle to sip throughout the day.
- Eat healthy fats: Foods that are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the building blocks of cell membranes, which means they’re essential for healthy skin. Foods such as oily fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, eggs and olive oil have fatty acids that nourish the skin and are important for a radiant, soft complexion.