When faced with problem skin such as acne, eczema or rosacea, many people think to seek out topical ointments in order to directly treat the issue. In some cases, this is great and will result in a dramatic improvement in the skin condition. However, when topical solutions do not work, this can be indicative of an internal problem. That is, an imbalance in the gut flora.
Gut health is becoming an increasingly popular topic and there is growing awareness of how our gut impacts all other systems of the body. For more information on this subject read our articles The gut and brain connection and The link between headaches and probiotics.
To quickly recap on what we’ve discussed in previous blog posts…
Our gastrointestinal tract (gut flora) is responsible for sorting the good bacteria from the bad. We need good bacteria to ensure we are absorbing the nutrients our bodies’ require to function optimally. The good bacteria is also responsible for excreting the ‘waste’ that we do not need.
With many modern day western lifestyles involving over consumption of processed foods, sugar and alcohol, as well as frequent prescription of antibiotics and other medications, our gut flora is often out of balance. This is a condition known as dysbiosis. What this means is that the protective (good) bacteria have been largely destroyed, allowing harmful, opportunistic pathogens a chance to become dominant.
When these pathogens become dominant, we become more susceptible to illness. This is also when we can experience difficulties with our health such as poor digestive function, autoimmune disorders, mood swings, anxiety and undesirable skin conditions… just to name a few. It is clear then why we want to do everything we can to keep our gut in balance, or help to restore our gut to full health in cases where dysbiosis has occurred.
How does gut health impact our skin?
There is a long history of skin conditions being linked to gut health, particularly in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
Put simply, when our gut is out of balance and therefore allowing ‘bad’ bacteria in, our body reacts by trying to remove this harmful bacteria as quickly as possible. Given that our skin is the largest organ in the body, it is not surprising that the skin is often the chosen exit route. The bodies’ attempt to remove these pathogens from our gut through the skin can result in irritation such as breakouts, redness and swelling.
Another reason that poor gut health can lead to a number of skin conditions is that bad bacteria in the gut makes it difficult for us to retain the nutrients in our diet. This leads to poor absorption of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in foods that help to keep our skin looking healthy.
So, what do we do to restore gut health and therefore improve skin?
There are a number of things we can do to improve gut health and in turn, improve the appearance of our skin.
Stop feeding the gut microbes processed foods and excess sugar.
Sugar is a big no no when it comes to skin. Avoiding sugary food/drinks should be step 1 when trying to achieve clear, healthy skin. Soft drinks are often a key culprit in over consumption of sugar… Try making the swap to Nexba naturally sugar free soft drinks for a skin and gut-friendly choice. There is zero compromise on taste here!
Support healthy gut microbes by including whole, nutrient dense foods, dietary fibre, pre-biotic and pro-biotic substances, such as fermented foods. Popular fermented foods/beverages include sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.
By nurturing our gut with probiotic rich food/drinks, we, in turn, support our digestive system, enhance our bodies innate capacity to eliminate toxins and we are better able fight off infection and harmful bacteria. This can have a profound impact on the appearance of our skin.
Our Nexba kombucha is loaded with gut-loving probiotics. Our entire kombucha range is made with 100% natural oolong tea leaves and contains 500 million live probiotics! We use a unique strain of probiotics that (unlike many) actually survive the journey from mouth to gut. Studies have demonstrated that 85% of the probiotics reach your stomach intact.
Support the digestive process by slowing down, avoiding eating on the run, eating when stressed etc.
The digestive process begins with the anticipation of food, perhaps via aromas of cooking, activating the vagus nerve to secrete saliva, containing digestive enzymes to begin the process whilst chewing. Skipping this step not only significantly diminishes the enjoyment of our food but is also likely to set up digestive issues.
Other key tips to improve the appearance of skin include…