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Gut health is the buzzword that has become super popular in the health, fitness and skin care worlds in recent years. The impact your gut health has on your body has been linked to a lot of issues including digestion, inflammation, illness, and the most visible, your skin. The relationship of the gut to the skin referred to as the “gut-skin axis,” is one of the emerging areas of research that doctors are finding has a major correlation and impact on one another.
When it comes to your skin, your diet is the most important factor in getting a clear complexion because your gut “microbiome,” which is the bacteria living in your digestive system and intestines. This microbiome of bacteria influences your overall health which gives you healthy skin.
What is gut health?
According to medical professionals, the health of your gut influences more than just your stomach. It’s home to trillions of microorganisms responsible for 70 per cent of your immune system. So, when you’re feeling a bit off, chances are your gut is likely out of sorts.
“The gut microbiome contains colonies of microbes in your gut and can change (for better or worse) based on factors like diet, lifestyle, and exposure to toxins and antibiotics,” Lisa Cantkier, Holistic Nutritionist tells Viva. “A healthy intestinal flora results in a healthy immune system.”
Since our digestive systems play host to tens of trillions of microorganisms, it’s important to have the right balance of the good and the not-so-good bacteria in our microbiome; this is where probiotics come in.
How gut health is linked to the skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body and often reflects the internal health of the body, particularly our gut health. For example, acne, redness, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, and rosacea are all skin conditions indicative of poor gut health.
According to the Natural Medicine Journal, the gut may communicate with the skin in several ways:
- Absorption of nutrients with a direct effect on the skin
- Absorption of nutrients that can stimulate hormonal changes that affect the skin
- Influence of gut microbiota on the immune system
- Alternating the local microbiome that releases metabolites that may have effects on the skin
And since a healthy microbiome is critical in keeping your digestion working properly—allowing you to retain nutrients from the food you eat—your skin needs this nutrition in order to look its best.
Foods that heal and ones to avoid
The good news is, you can help heal your gut with probiotics and certain superfoods that will help you maintain a healthy microbiome.
“The top five superfoods for maintaining good digestive health are fermented vegetables, turmeric, bone broth, chlorella, and garlic,” says Dr Suhani Shah, ND.
Some of the biggest triggers for overall issues with poor gut health including the consumption of sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and processed foods that are loaded with chemicals and refined ingredients.
These foods cause inflammation and digestive stress in the body, which is reflected in your skin’s appearance and health.
—by Toni-Marie Ippolito