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Gut Health + Your Skin

All disease begins in the gut” - my dear friend Hippocrates


Gut health is having a moment, and with good reason. Did you know your gut is considered a second brain? It is intelligent & also imperative in the function of our entire body. When gut health is off, everything suffers! Here’s why - 


“Gut” refers to the gastrointestinal tract. The gut is responsible for processing all of the food & nutrients that are consumed, as well as being home to the majority of the body’s bacteria (both good & bad). Over 70% of the body’s immune cells live in the gut, making the balance between good & bad bacteria especially important for our health. If our gut microbiome (the balance of bacteria, viruses etc.) is overgrown with harmful bacteria, or if the health of our gut is suffering (ex. irritated mucosal lining) the effects will be far reaching. 


An unhappy gut becomes inflamed & this inflammation releases something called pro-inflammatory cytokines. We don’t need to get too nerdy with the science here, but these cytokines boost inflammation while suppressing our immune system.

the gut-skin axis

Because of the connection between our gut & the rest of our bodies, this inflammation spreads to our other body systems, including our skin. The connection between our gut health & skin health is referred to as the Gut-Skin Axis. When gut health is off, our skin suffers. This could show up as acne, rosacea, or even dryness or sensitivity. A healthy gut = a healthy, glowing you. Your skin is just one symptom of an imbalanced gut.


Signs you may have an unhealthy gut:


If you experience any of the following...

  • Tummy pain - bloating, gassy, stomach-aches, etc.

  • Irregular bowel movements - constipation, diarrhea, etc.

  • Skin issues - eczema, acne, psoriasis, rapidly forming wrinkles, etc.

  • Fatigue - low energy, sleep issues

...your gut could use some help.


How to boost gut health


Our initial gut microbiome is determined at birth by our genetics. From there, it’s influenced by diet, lifestyle, medications / antibiotics, etc. If you’re suffering from gut issues, I recommend working with a professional (like me!) but there are a few ways you can improve gut health on your own. 


Your diet is one of the easiest changes you can make to boost your gut health, and I recommend starting with fiber. 


Fiber is the edible component of plant foods that can’t be digested by humans. Because it can’t be digested, it is not a nutrient, but it is absolutely essential to our digestive system. Fiber affects the rate of our digestion of foods, the

insoluble & soluble fiber

absorption of nutrients & the movement of waste products through our bodies - preventing the buildup of toxins & therefore, helping to prevent inflammation. This is so important for gut health & overall health. Fiber also helps regulate our bacterial balance by lowering the pH of our colon, helping to inhibit the growth of some bad bacteria. Meanwhile, soluble fiber ferments, feeding our good bacteria. There are two types of fiber: insoluble, & soluble. The type of fiber varies depending on the food, but most have a mixture of both. 


examples of fiber-rich foods

High-fiber foods include legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds, bananas and berries. And here’s the deal: most people don’t eat enough of it. It’s recommended to eat 28-34 grams a day, yet most Americans average 15 g or less. Here’s the deal pt. 2: when you increase your fiber intake, you need to increase your water intake, too, otherwise you’re going to be dealing with some major discomfort.




Your lifestyle is the second place to look 


Lifestyle changes can be more difficult to make, but they’ll have far reaching results by boosting your gut health, your physical health, your skin health, aaaand your mental health. BTW, did you know that our gut produces the majority of our good-mood hormones, including 95% of our serotonin? A healthy gut = a healthier, glowier, happier you. You can call that a win-win… win. 


tips to improve gut health

Drink more water. Boring, I know, but forreal - water keeps your digestive tract healthy & mobile. Aim for a bare minimum of 70 oz each day, spread throughout the day. 


Chew more! The more you chew, the more your saliva mixes with your food. The first step of digestion occurs in your mouth, especially for carbs - don’t rush it! Also, the more you break down your food, the easier it is to digest. 


Get your beauty sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours each night. This reduces stress (our digestive system, including our gut, slows down when we’re stressed) & keeps our energy levels stable, making it more likely to stay on a balanced schedule & choose healthy choices for our gut (& you know.. ourselves). 


Resetting the gut microbiome takes time and dedication - you’re looking at 1-2 months of consistently prioritizing your gut & overall health. If that sounds like a long time, here’s a quick win: it only takes 3-5 days for your sugar-craving bacteria to die off. If you quit sugar today, in less than a week, your (physical) sugar cravings will be gone. It’s amazing how quickly our bodies can heal, so don’t let 1-2 months discourage you…. By prioritizing your gut, you’re prioritizing your overall health. 


Go to bed early, drink water, feed your gut, & be kind to yourself. Give your body the nutrients, rest, & respect that it deserves - but remember that life is about balance & joy. Your body needs consistency, not perfection.


xx

Vanessa

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