A few years back, Nutritionist, Jessica Sepel learnt a very important lesson, and she shares with RESCU her insights to skin health.
You see, many people think that you are what you eat. I think that you’re what you digest and absorb. Confused? Let me explain. The gut is the cornerstone of our health, as it’s where 70 to 80 per cent of the immune system lies. If your gut isn’t functioning optimally, it can’t absorb the vital nutrients your body needs to thrive. This manifests in symptoms such as bloating, hormonal imbalance, low energy and skin issues. A poorly functioning gut can re-absorb the toxic build up in the body, which can show up in your skin leading to blemishes, pimples, acne and other common skin conditions. On the flipside, if your gut is healthy, you’ll notice more energy, better digestion, clearer skin, better mood and a stronger immune system.
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Here are some handy tips to help you understand why digestion plays a key role in your skin’s health:
1. It helps you absorb nutrients:
The absorption of nutrients is an essential factor in maintaining healthy skin. If your gut isn’t functioning optimally, it can’t absorb the vital nutrients your skin needs to thrive.
2. It clears toxic build up:
The gut helps to eliminate toxins, so if your digestive system is compromised, you may not be eliminating toxins as effectively. A poorly functioning gut can re-absorb these toxins, which can show up in your skin, leading to blemishes, pimples, acne and other common skin conditions.
3. Reduces inflammation.
If your gut flora is imbalanced (officially called dysbiosis), it can cause leaky gut and inflammation. This can lead to an immune reaction in the body, which results in redness, swelling and breakouts of the skin. There’s research that shows how our gut microbiome is linked to acne. A study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that a disrupted gut barrier is linked to inflammation, which can influence acne.
Luckily, there are plenty of dietary and lifestyle practices that you can incorporate to boost your gut health and thereby improve your skin health. Here are a few tips:
1. Eat wholefoods:
That means sticking to good-quality protein, legumes, grains, fruits, nuts and seeds. By increasing your intake of enzymes, minerals, antioxidants and nutrient-rich foods, you’ll get that lit-from-within glow we all know and love.
2. Reduce stress:
I firmly believe that stress negatively impacts not only our health. Plus, stress negatively impacts the gut and often prevents proper digestion and assimilation. Some great stress-reducing exercises include yoga, meditation, walking in nature, journaling, belly breathing or a massage.
3. Optimise digestive enzymes:
Having good amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps to break down food, thereby aiding digestion. I recommend sipping on two litres of water with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar throughout the day.
4. Get more sleep:
A stressed, exhausted body cannot possibly function the way it is meant to. Try to get to bed early and aim for eight hours of sleep each night.
To support your gut, I recommend taking a probiotic under the guidance of a medical practitioner.
6. Avoid added sugars:
These include cane sugar, table sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and even maple syrup and honey. These foods can disrupt our gut bacteria balance, which can, in turn, impact our skin.
7. Stay hydrated:
Each day, aim to drink two litres of water. This can be aided by enjoying some herbal tea and putting two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into your water bottle to sip throughout the day.
8. Reduce alcohol and caffeine:
They can affect the liver and digestive function which can also show up in the skin. Too much caffeine can also increase cortisol, which can also cause breakouts or effect our hormones.
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