The skin is your body’s largest organ, acting as our protective barrier, a temperature regulator, and as a communicator. Your skin can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside; if you’re too hot, if you’re dehydrated and even if you’re not eating the right foods for your body. Your gut health and skin health have a complex relationship.
The gut-skin axis is the term that describes how the health of your gut microbiome is reflected on your skin. Recent studies have linked skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, and acne to the balance of microbiota inside your gut.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
Your gut microbiome is essentially the name for the trillions of different types of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that live in your gut. Bacteria often gets a bad rap but is actually a healthy guts’ best friend!
Everyone’s gut microbiome is different and shaped by a variety of factors like genetics, stress level, illness, and lifestyle. Most of these factors are out of our control – but luckily, we’re able to influence a healthy gut through diet.
The bacteria in your gut help digest and break down food, absorb and synthesise nutrients, and can even influence your mood, all functions critical to our health and wellbeing. Turns out keeping trillions of bacteria in your gut (that you rarely think about) happy is important after all!
Highly processed, excessively sugary or greasy foods can disrupt the balance of good versus bad bacteria in your gut. This disruption triggers inflammatory immune responses: your body’s way of trying to regain a harmonious balance. Since the skin is our largest organ, it comes as no surprise that these inflammatory responses are sometimes reflected on our skin. Your skin could be telling you that your gut microbiome isn’t happy if you have persistent breakouts, dullness, discolouration, redness, dandruff or rashes.
A Healthy Gut for Glowing Skin
The old cliché that chocolate gives you pimples may not be too far off the truth after all.
Sometimes we can’t control stress levels, how much sleep we’re getting or catching a cold going into the cooler months, but we can control the quality of food we consume. Yes – this is your sign to delete your junk food takeaway apps and pen your whole food shopping list ASAP!
Food that is high in fibre take longer to be digested than other foods and are recommended for a healthy gut. These high-fibre foods are sometimes referred to as prebiotics, since they feed our beneficial microbiota. Garlic, onion, bananas, leeks, asparagus among others are all a healthy gut’s favourites.
Probiotic foods contain live bacteria that grow during the fermentation process. You can find plenty of these in WholeLife Healthfoods fridges and shelves; think sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, apple cider vinegar and kombucha. Introducing beneficial bacteria into your gut that are found in these food and drinks helps balance out the harmful bacteria. Happy gut and happy tastebuds!
If you’re taking steps to improve your gut health for glowing skin, chances are you’ll reap the benefits elsewhere, too! Your mood, immune system, endocrine system (your hormones) and brain function have all been found to link to gut health.
Don’t Skip Your Supplements
Taking a daily probiotic supplement can also help you nourish your gut microbiome. When choosing your probiotic for skin health, look for these two species on the label: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These species have been linked in clinical studies to reduce skin inflammation, boost skin ceramides, reduce redness and improve acne. Science backed skincare – yes please!
#Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. This medicine may not be right for you, read the label before purchase. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. *Nutritional supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.
Steps to Improve Your Gut Health
Your gut microbiome isn’t going to be healed after one kombucha and a probiotic supplement. The road to a healthy gut varies person to person, but with consistency can take up to four weeks to notice any changes in your skin health.
Some steps to take to make sure you’re on the right track:
- Diversify your microbiome by eating a wide range of fibrous, plant-based foods
- Increase your fermented foods intake and try incorporating kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha into your diet
- Stay away from sugary, processed, and packaged foods that are harmful to your good gut bacteria
- Take a broad-spectrum daily probiotic
- Stay hydrated! Your gut and skin both love water, so you should aim to drink 2-3 litres a day
Nourish from The Inside and Out
Even though the gut-skin axis link is strong, that doesn’t mean we’re giving you a free pass to give up on your skincare! Your skin stills need loving from the outside too, especially if ageing is a skin concern. UV damage is widely maintained as the number one cause of ageing; think wrinkles, discolouration, loss of elasticity – it’s all linked to UV damage. A broad-spectrum 50+ SPF is a daily essential to protect your dermis.
Follow us on Instagram @wholelifepharmacyandhealthfood for the latest on our favourite gut-friendly products to hit the fridges and shelves.
Feature Image Via: Ecotan