Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Skin
We’ve heard the phrase, “you are what you eat” before, but really, “you are what you absorb!” Everyone wants supple, glowing and dewy skin. We all want to be pimple-free and to have a face that looks like it’s been kissed by the sun. So, what should we do? Starting with skincare products is definitely an effective way to combat skin irritations. However, your skin can be a tricky thing and there are a lot of different factors that could be causing your skin to look the way that it does. Sometimes skin irritations are caused by food sensitivities, intolerances and reactions to the unhealthy foods we are consuming. Going back to my first point - you are what you absorb. What if I told you that every single thing you put onto your skin is absorbed into your body. And, everything you eat is reflected through your skin and appearance. True health and glowing skin starts with the health of the microflora in your gut.
Food, stress, sleep, anxiety and depression all have the power to affect our skin and can alter our gut flora. Overtime, these choices and emotional states can lead to leaky gut syndrome or inflammation of the gut which can be presented in form of rashes, acne, rosacea, eczema and so on. And trust me, no one wakes up one day and wishes they had acne. No one!
So what can we do to heal our guts? The options are endless. But first, let’s start with the power of food. Everyday we have the opportunity to choose what foods are going to fuel us. Some choices are better than others, but in the end they all play a role in the appearance of our skin. In order for you digestion to be functioning properly we need a few key ingredients - fat and fibre. Fibre comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble, which can be found in almost all plants foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and grains. The fibre helps to form stool and sweep any leftover food particles through our intestines so they can be properly eliminated. Yay for healthy poops! With all of these plants foods comes a ton of micronutrients such as vitamin A, C, E, magnesium, calcium, iron and more. Fat is a superhero when it come to helping our bodies break down carbohydrates, forming easy to pass poops and helping to absorb our micronutrients. Our A, D, E and K vitamins are fat soluble, which means they need healthy fats in order to be properly absorbed. So yes, eating more fruits and vegetables is a great first step, but add some fats to it!
The next step we can take to heal our gut is to take a probiotic. I start every morning with a glass of lemon water (which helps improve digestion by producing more hydrochloric acid which in turn helps to break down our food further) and a probiotic. It's become a routine of mine and I can honestly say that I look forward to it. Not just because I know that I am doing my body a world of good by feeding it bacteria to help it thrive, but because I know I will feel amazing the rest of the day. Probiotics are exactly what they sounds like, the good bacteria. We’re so used to hearing the word “anti” nowadays - antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and the worst one of them all, antibiotics. Cue the scary music.
If you start taking one supplement, please let it be a probiotic! Probiotics replenish the good bacteria in our guts. Our microflora play a huge role in supporting our immune system and improving digestion by helping to break down carbs, proteins and fats.
Alongside probiotics, I highly recommend taking a digestive enzyme with each meal. Poorly chewed food and a lack of digestive enzymes is a recipe for digestive disasters and are biggest reasons for bloating. Digestive enzymes help to increase the number of enzymes that are secreted and lend a hand in the breakdown and metabolism of our foods. Woo hoo for energy!
Lindsay’s Tips for Glowing Skin
1. Drink a glass of warm lemon water (in the morning and/or before meals.
2. Take a probiotic & eat probiotic rich foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh)
3. Take a digestive enzyme with meals
4. Chew your food! (drink your solids, chew your liquids)
5. Eat plenty of fibre (fruits, vegetables, chia, flax, legumes)
So the next time you are about to schlop on an extra dollop of cover up in a desperate attempt to hide a breakout, take a moment to think about the underlying issue. Make the choice to get healthier and improve your life in all ways. Reduce your stress levels, get more sleep, eat your fruits and vegetables (with fats!), drink more water, chew your food and take a probiotic. Got all that? Now sit back and watch you skin radiate from the inside out!
Post by Lindsay Mustard
Lindsay is an Ottawa based Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor. She is currently studying Osteopathy at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in addition to Aromatherapy in Guelph, Ontario. Her passion for healthy living burns brighter than her red hair and she illuminates the path to achieving holistic health and wellness for everyone that she meets. Website, Instagram