You might be thinking I made a mistake writing about digestion and the skin, but its no mistake. Digestion, or how we intake, process, absorb and excrete food, plays an enormous role in healthy skin.
We quite literally ARE what we eat, and the result of what we eat shows up on our skin. The digestive process is a very complicated discussion, one that I am no expert on, so we won’t go there. The skin however, is another story.
Here’s the thing. You need to eat nutrients to build a healthy skin and body. Nutrients like essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and proteins are abundant in a whole foods diet. Notice that sugar, carbohydrates, artificial colors and flavors are not on that essential list.
START WITH REAL FOOD. Nuff said.
Once you have eaten something yummy like dark green leafies, salmon, blueberries, or pastured butter, your body needs to digest and absorb that nutrition. If you don’t digest well, you can’t access those nutrients. If you have increased intestinal permeability AKA Leaky Gut, you can’t absorb those nutrients either.
Several skin issues are associated with poor digestion:
- Acne~ leaky gut, constipation
- Rosacea~ SIBO, H. pylori infection
- Psoriasis~ autoimmune, leaky gut
- Eczema~ food sensitivities especially dairy, gluten
Unless you live off the grid or under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term “microbiome”. It refers to the collective population of microbes living in and on our body, skin included.
Basically, our bodies serve as mobile farms for 3-5 POUNDS of microbes. When this microbiome is normal and healthy, the rest of our body is normal and healthy. This includes our mood and our skin. (Yep, gut health appears to affect depression and anxiety too.)
It appears that certain gut flora play a BIG role in inflammation, which is known to be a major player in skin issues. Curiously, there is some recent research that indicates systemic inflammation may actually be COMING FROM the skin! In other words, taking good care of your skin will keep you from aging.
There is a ton of research underway on the microbiome now, so hopefully we will learn more in the next few years.
A few things you can do now to support your digestion AND your skin include:
Taking bitters like dandelion, yellow dock, or artichoke before meals. Among other things, bitters stimulate bile production, helping fat digestion. Dandelion IS A SUPERFOOD!!
Eat in a relaxed environment. Seriously! You’ve heard the phrase Fight or Flight? The opposite is Rest and Digest. You don’t actually digest your food unless you are in a relaxed state. Slow down and chew your food for Pete’s sake!
Drink bone broth. For real. Its way more than just chock full of collagen, which happens to be super trendy in skin care right now. Its also filled with easily digested amino acids that may help to repair a leaky gut. Clients have asked me for years what is the best food to eat for healthy skin. BONE BROTH. There, I said it again.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Google it.
Eat healthy fats like avocado, fresh flax seeds, walnuts, coconut oil (eat it, don’t wear it), pastured butter and pastured meats. Just eat real food #jerf.
If you need help with your digestion, see your doctor. If you need help with your skin, see us at Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies in Providence, RI.
Aaaand here are more adorable kittens. Just because 🙂