You ARE What You Eat: The relationship between Skin and Gut Health
We know you’re out there getting ‘Hot Girl Summer’ ready, we see you girl! ... diet is an integral part of fitness, but did you know it is essential for your skin as well? An easy thing to gloss over is how our internal health can affect the functionality and appearance of the skin. Instant gratification tends to rear us to band aid remedies, but in most cases the issue is actually more deep rooted... Do we have your attention, yet?... Good gut health equals good skin. You can’t take care of the outside, if you can’t take care of what’s within!
What you eat provides nutrients to the skin
There’s an abundance of new diets and supplements that tote benefits which seem incredulous. Day in and day out we are consistently being preached to on what we should and should not eat; but do we know why? The gut is where 70 percent of our immune system lies, it’s where: nutrients are made, hormones are metabolized, enzymes are detoxified, pathogens are neutralized, and neurotransmitters are made. A healthy gut has a balanced microbiome, and when this is off , our skin will most definitely show it!
The gut and skin communicate via the “Gut-Skin” axis, which is like a communication channel between the gut and skin through your immune system. Essentially, Gut inflammation = Skin inflammation. You wanna GLOW girl?? Well nourished and glowing skin needs nutrients delivered through the blood supply in order to produce collagen, fight off free radicals and stay at optimum health. Eating a good mixture of antioxidants, omega-3s, and good carbs (fruits and veggies!) will provide us with those nutrients. And building a healthy gut will allow those nutrients to be processed as efficiently as possible. That is how we stay ageless 😉.
Practice Healthy habits to balance the gut
Eating nutrient rich foods and probiotics help provide “good bacteria'' in the gut. So why are there so many ‘Biotics’ (probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, and antibiotics)? All are important to human health, and a major influence on skin however they have different roles.
- Probiotics - You can get these goodies from a balanced diet and fermented foods that are loaded with many different species and strains. Always look for a variety in species and strains , so that you create a balanced microbiome (if it’s a single strain that’s not a good sign). There is no way for us to tell specifically what strains we are lacking in our own microbiome, so adding a variety is key to achieving balance. Always take care to read the instructions (i.e. refrigerate after opening, take with food, etc) to be sure you are taking them effectively.
- Prebiotics - These little fibers act as a food for the bacteria, so that healthy bacteria can reproduce rapidly.
- Postbiotics - Bio-active compounds produced by probiotic cells, they enable them to deliver the health benefits to our immune system
- Minimal AntiBiotics - Unfortunately antibiotics clear out all gut bacteria, both bad... and good. So you have to pay attention to these! It’s important to only take these as necessary, as they will require you to rebuild your microbiome. Supplement them with Probiotics when you do need to take them, to counteract the good bacteria they eliminate.
Essentially, the right mixture of the “biotics” are beneficial bacterias found in certain foods or supplements. Fermented foods produce a lot of these bacterias, and you should look into incorporating these “good guys” into the mix.
Choose foods that will help give you the nutrients you need for healthy skin
Of course we were not going to leave you starving! you are probably still thinking, ‘Ok so, what do I eat tho??’... We have a few ‘fuel foods’ that will power you through to your best skin.
- Fluids - Water & Green tea. By now you know the everlasting benefits of hydration ( if you don’t get in the know 💦). These two liquids allow the skin cells to move the nutrients in and waste out.
- Fish - If you are a meat eater/are not allergic, fish should be in your recipes. This protein is great for collagen and elastin, and Omega-3s (reduce inflammation).
- Fruits & Veggies - Think COLOR! Let’s make art… The bright yellow and orange fruits and vegetables like Carrots and apricots. The lush green of spinach and other leafy vegetables. Deep reds, blues, and purples of tomatoes, berries, and beans. Go for the spectrum, it looks good and tastes better.
- Nuts & Seeds - We probably eat at least a handful of these a day, they are just a go-to snack (if you are allergic, consult a medical professional). They also can really benefit your skin. Tree nuts like Almond and Brazil, as well as seeds like chia and flax aid in anti-inflammation.
The inner truth
Keeping your gut bacteria balanced is important for so many aspects of health. Of course we want to be healthy!! So the keys are to eat plenty of prebiotic, postbiotic, and probiotic foods, as they will help promote the most ideal balance between good and bad gut bacteria. If you're leaning more towards a supplement approach, check out the World Gastroenterology Organization Global Guidelines list of evidence-based conditions that probiotics could potentially help. WGO (World Gastroenterology Organization) also offers recommendations! So you don’t even have to do the work girl!
Who would have thought, everything that you are putting inside your body will show on your outsides 🤦♀️! ...That means focusing on nutrients that actually benefit you, and getting rid of the non-benefits. Make sure what you consume serves you. Food is like friends, choose them wisely. Remember you are what you eat, everything within will show up on that skin!