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The Gut-Skin Connection

Posted by nexbaau on 6th Feb 2021

Nic Florido

When faced with acne, eczema or rosacea, your first instinct might be to run to the chemist and buy a load of creams and ointments. In some cases they work, but other times, skin issues can mean there’s something deeper going on. That’s where gut health comes in.

What is gut flora?

Our gut flora is responsible for balancing out the good and bad bacteria in our microbiome. The good bacteria makes sure your body absorbs the nutrients needed to keep your body healthy and your microbiome happy.

But the thing about our gut flora is that it can easily get out of balance. Eating too much processed foods, sugar and alcohol, paired with not enough exercise, increased stress and mental health issues can mean that too much bad bacteria can set up camp in your microbiome. When you have more bad bacteria in your gut than good, the bad bacteria can cause inflammation and potentially lead to disease. 

How does gut health impact our skin?

To put it simply, when our gut is out of balance, our body reacts by trying to remove this harmful bacteria as quickly as possible. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, which means it’s often the easiest exit route. Our body’s attempt to remove these bad bacteria from our gut through the skin can result in irritation like breakouts, redness and swelling.

Our gut health also impacts our skin because the bad bacteria 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.

This connection between the skin and the microbiome is called the Gut-Skin Axis, and it means that both organs rely on one another to stay happy.

So how can I improve my Gut-Skin Axis?

It might sound complicated, but improving your gut health is not as tricky as it sounds. Here are some ways to improve your Gut-Skin Axis.

1. Cut back on processed foods and excess sugar

Sugar is a big no-no when it comes to skin. Think about how much your skin breaks out after eating a family block of chocolate to yourself (we’ve all been there!). Some simple steps for cutting back on sugar and processed food is try and eat fresh, whole foods and avoid artificial sugar. Soft drinks are often a key culprit in over-consumption of sugar… Try making the swap to Naturally Sugar Free drinks for a skin and gut-friendly choice instead. 

2. Support healthy gut microbes

Try and include more whole, nutrient dense foods, dietary fibre, pre-biotic and pro-biotic foods to your diet. Opt for homemade, sugar free recipes and remember to eat the natural rainbow! Your gut thrives from eating a wide variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes and lean protein. The more colourful your plate, the happier your gut will be.

3. Support the digestive process by slowing down, avoiding eating on the run or eating when stressed

We know this is a tough one, especially when you’ve had a long day and just want to relax. But eating mindfully has huge health benefits on stress levels, digestion and your overall gut health. The digestive process begins with the anticipation of food (aka when you’re feeling hungry) and tells your body to start creating saliva, which contains digestive enzymes that help you chew and digest your food. Eating too quickly, or binging on junk food when you’re feeling overwhelmed can lead to digestive issues which your gut microbiome doesn’t appreciate. Try slowing down when you eat, taking your time when cooking and sitting at the table to enjoy your meals.

Our key tips for glowing skin?
  • Drink plenty of water (aim for 3L per day).
  • Make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. 7-8 hours per night!
  • Exercise.
  • Eat natural, whole foods and avoid processed food, sugar and artificial sweeteners.