How our gut health affects our skin
Most of you know I'm passionate about women's wellness post 50. The past couple of months I've been studying mental clarity, digestion, and gut health. It's led me down a path of revelation.
Our guts..specifically, our gut microbiome is linked to our overall health. It shapes everything from our brain health to our immunity, our mental health, our ability to lose weight and how our skin looks.
I've enjoyed listening to a number of podcasts by gastroenterologist and gut health expert, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz and will be purchasing his book titled, "Fiber Fueled." I encourage you to take a listen to him on YouTube. It could be life changing.
Symptoms of an unhealthy gut
- Acid reflux & heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation. An imbalance in the gut microbiome can cause these symptoms.
- Diets with high concentrations of processed food and added sugar can lead to an imbalance in the gut.
Persistent Fatigue & Insomnia
Whether you're struggling to fall asleep or find that you aren't well-rested in the morning, your sleep woes could potentially be rooted in your gut.
Fiber-rich diets are great for the gut and for sleep. Eating the right amount of fiber nourishes gut bacteria (the good guys) and positively influences sleep patterns.
Communication between our gut and our brain is ongoing. Bad gut health affects the brain and can cause symptoms of brain fog
For instance, some people develop brain fog after eating certain foods (Thanksgiving dinner?), such as gluten. Why? because it triggers inflammation in the gut. If you have digestive problems, your gut may be playing a role in brain fog.
Skin concerns that may come with an unhealthy gut include eczema, dry skin, acne, sagging of the skin, and an overall breakdown of collagen.
How to support Gut Health
•Plenty of liquids such as water, green tea, or lemongrass tea
Hydration improves the health of tissues in your body and has a positive impact on the functioning of your digestive tract.
Add prebiotics to your diet
Prebiotics are various foods in your diet that can stimulate the growth and balance of healthy bacteria in the colon.
Good sources of prebiotics are citrus fruits, kiwi fruit (leave the skin on!), pears, leafy greens, and cruciferous microgreens (broccoli, cabbage). I put microgreens on my avocado toast with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Yummy.
Prebiotics are not appropriate if you have IBS.
Probiotics are a certain type of friendly bacteria that provide health benefits when eaten. They’re often taken as supplements that are supposed to help colonize your gut with good microorganisms.
Probiotic foods include yogurt, miso (I use in my soups and to add flavor to cooked farro) kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, pickled vegetables, and kimchi.
The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral.
Good bacteria keep you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:
•Help your body digest food.
•Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
•Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed (through food or drinks) from entering your blood.
•Break down and absorb medications.
•Ditch Processed Food & Added Sugars
Rely on naturally present sugars such as those in fruit. Consider eating a more plant-based diet. Eating a plant-based diet that includes fermented foods and fiber from colorful (think rainbow) fruits and vegetables supports a healthy gut.
Sugar is the enemy to our gut. It causes inflammation. Too much sugar can reduce beneficial bacteria leading to a leaky gut syndrome. It can increase pathogenic bacteria, which is the species of microorganisms that cause diseases.
Eat These Foods Daily
Fruits - the more variety the better, if they are thin-skinned, buy organic. I just found a delicious variety of kiwi, and I eat the skin too. Delish! Blueberries are a must, they dramatically improve gut bacteria and reduce inflammation
Fermented foods - pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt
Mushrooms - a variety is best
Sea Vegetables - seaweed. Here's a great reference for sea vegetables.
Legumes - garbanzo, pinto, black beans, etc.
Aromatics - garlic & Onion
Whole Grains - farro, quinoa, brown Rice, whole wheat pasta
Nuts - 1 oz daily. Walnuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts
Greens - microgreens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, etc. The more variety the better.
A good diet and a reset of our gut microbiome takes time and effort, usually two to three months.
It also takes dedication to improve your lifestyle - setting the alarm, going to bed early, taking time to move your body. Nutrition, rest, and relaxation are all important elements of taking care of your body.
A healthy gut is a key factor to maintaining a healthy weight and beautiful, glowing skin at any age.