We often hear health and wellness gurus say “you are what you eat”. We hear it so often that it’s become something of a health and wellness mantra.
People often eat clean and nutritious foods to maintain their fitness and vitality and to improve the appearance of their skin.
Healthy skin requires a constant supply of water and needs to be regularly nourished with essential vitamins and minerals. But it requires more than just a healthy diet. It also needs a healthy gut to digest and properly absorb that healthy diet.
The Gut-Skin Relation
Our gut has millions of “microbial cells” (comprising bacteria, yeasts, and viruses). These microbial cells – often simply referred to as “bacteria” in layman's terms – are essential to our bodily functions and without them living in our guts, we cannot digest food or have a working immune system.
There are two types of bacteria in our gut – those that are considered “good” and helpful and those that are considered “bad” and harmful.
It is important to maintain a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria, which is to say that the good bacteria should outnumber the bad in order to fight off any illnesses. In other words, a healthy balance between the two gut microbiomes is key to a healthy gut.
And what happens if this precious balance is disrupted?
Among other things, this imbalance gives rise to inflammation in the body. And part of the body’s many inflammatory responses is the inflammation of our largest organ – our skin.
Skin conditions like eczema and acne are basically inflammatory skin conditions that develop when our immune system is trying to defeat bad bacteria.
It is important to note that it isn’t the lack of gut health that causes bad skin per se. But our skin reflects the health of our gut, and more specifically, it indicates the balance of bacteria within the gut.
What Causes The Gut Microbial Imbalance?
Here are basically four factors that cause this particular imbalance. They are:
Antibiotics are taken to kill infection-causing bacteria and in the process end up killing the good bacteria as well. As a result, after a course or two of antibiotics, we experience a change in appetite and digestion.
#2. Insufficient Sleep
Good quality sleep is crucial to a healthy gut and regular bowel movements. Disruption in our sleep cycle, or not getting enough sleep prevents the gut from functioning at its best.
Chronic stress levels tend to take a toll on the entire body, including mental health, metabolic function, and the gut.
#4. Poor Diet
Diets that consist primarily of heavily processed foods, high sugars, and high fats, eventually reduce the number of good bacteria in our gut. And ultimately deprive the gut of diverse bacteria which in turn may cause inflammation throughout the body.
Heal your Gut, Improve your Skin
To see your skin at its healthiest, get enough sleep, de-stress, and try loading up on foods that promote a healthy microbiome environment in your gut.
That is to say, consume more whole foods including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, fish, meat, eggs, etc as opposed to processed foods. Use healthy fats like those found in cod liver oil and coconut oil.
Start incorporating gut-healing superfoods like fermented vegetables that are known to improve the gut microbiome culture greatly.
Nutrition experts have to recommend. But for today, let’s briefly examine just three foods that help our gut, regulate healthier digestion, and eventually improve our skin.
Yogurt is a powerhouse of “good” bacteria that greatly increase gut functioning, calm down inflamed digestive systems, and help heal upset stomachs. Its live active cultures stand guard against germs, protect the gut and intestinal tract, boost overall immunity, and have a soothing effect on the skin from within.
This healthful food is also filled with vitamin D, protein, and calcium, and truly shows its many benefits once it’s made part of the daily diet.
So have a bowl of yogurt for breakfast. And if you really want to give yourself a nutrition boost, mix it up with fresh fruits and seeds.
#2. Whole Grains
The colon requires a minimum dose of 25 grams daily fiber to function well.
Whole grains (e.g. whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oats) – as opposed to refined carbohydrates like pasta and white bread – are an excellent source of fiber. They also provide many valuable nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids.
When this fiber is fermented by the gut bacteria, it releases short-chain fatty acids that promote healthier function in the colon lining. The colon lining is where about 70 percent of immune cells thrive, so just imagine the many advantages of consuming these fibers!
Avocados contain a high fiber content with about 14 grams of fiber per piece.
Nutritionists consider them to be something of a superfood and insist you use them daily. Avocados are a healthy fiber dose packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and some very health-essential fats.
Avocados encourage optimal digestive functioning and prevent constipation.
We are what we put in our bodies. When we eat healthy, gut-friendly food and fill our bodies with essential nutrients, we are feeding ourselves real physical strength. But we are also doing something more…
We are helping our bodies’ precious little superstars – the “good bacteria” in our gut – to ensure our bodies are functioning well inside, while also managing our immune system.
By eating right, we are making our good bacteria stronger, which is all the better for us and our long-term health.
Good bacteria regulate the “good practices” in our gut and make it healthy. This in turn is reflected in our skin, which is really the outermost indicator of our gut atmosphere.
Next time you decide what you want to eat, just make sure that it's the “good” bacteria in your gut that you’re feeding better!