Acne, rosacea, eczema, dry skin… these common skin problems we face could have one similar root cause: poor gut health. Yes, you heard it right: how well our guts function – and by extension what we eat – has huge impacts on our skin condition.
The Gut-Skin Connection
The link between our gut and our skin is not as far-fetched as some would think. Our gut, primarily referring to our intestines in our digestive system, is responsible from absorbing nutrients from the food we eat and excreting waste.
Gut problems and indigestion can affect how we retain the nutrients we obtain from the food we eat, and poor gut health can cause us to be unable to properly absorb the minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants we need to keep our skin looking healthy and blemish-free.
What Makes A Healthy Gut?
The answer mainly lies in the bacteria found in our gut. While bacteria on our face is generally bad – acne is caused by bacteria! – the bacteria in our gut is mostly good, and this needs to be supported properly to limit the growth of bad bacteria.
An overgrowth of bad bacteria can not only damage the gut walls, causing ‘leaky gut syndrome’, but also trigger autoimmune reactions in our bodies, in turn causing inflammation, breakouts, or other skin conditions.
Good bacteria, on the other hand, can help to digest some types of carbohydrates as well as produce Vitamin B and Vitamin K: essential nutrients for our bodies.
The growth of good bacteria in our guts can be supported through consuming both probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics refer to the good bacteria; eating plant-based fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut or kombucha will give you the good bacteria you need! Eating probiotic-rich supplements can also help improve the levels of good bacteria in your gut. Foods that naturally contain prebiotics - essentially food that feeds probiotics i.e. the good bacteria - include dark leafy greens, onions, and legumes.
Preventing Gut Damage & Inflammation
While it’s important to provide your gut with the bacteria it needs to thrive, it’s just as important to ensure that you’re not causing inflammation through your food intake. Substances such as refined sugars, alcohol or processed foods can contribute to gut damage and inflammation, in turn causing pre-existing skin conditions to worsen.
It’s important to note however, that eating foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics will not magically clear up your skin condition overnight. There are other factors that also play a part, such as hygiene, as well as your skincare routine. However, keeping your gut healthy and happy can definitely go a long way to keeping your complexion clear and blemish-free.
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