The Importance Of A Healthy Gut And What You Need To Know
Some of our body’s most important players are found in the gut. In fact, about 80% of the body’s immune system resides in the lining of it, and 70% of our white blood cells are found there. Hippocrates, traditionally regarded as the father of medicine, said that all disease begins in the gut, which is why it’s important that we focus on what we choose to eat.
The Gut and It’s Responsibilities
The gut, or gastrointestinal passage, includes the small intestine and large intestine. The small intestine is long and narrow, and averages about 7 meters (23 feet) long. The large intestine is wider in diameter but shorter than the small intestine at about 1.5 meters (5 feet) long.
During the last few years there has been an increased awareness on maintaining good gut health. Most people don’t know why, but there is a very good reason! The gut makes up the largest colonies of microbes in the human body, with the average adult carrying up to 2kg of bacteria. These microorganisms, consisting mostly of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and yeast, form a living fabric of controls that affects our mood, weight, nutrition and immunity. These bacteria have several key responsibilities that aid in maintaining our bodies. These responsibilities include helping process food, metabolize bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics. They also help support digestion, influence gut motility and fight disease, all while balancing out hormone levels, vitamin levels and neurotransmitters.
Lifestyle and Diet
Our diet and lifestyle play a major role in the diversity of our gut; when our gut microbiota is disrupted, our immunity is reduced which makes our bodies susceptible to diseases and disorders. Things that can impact our gut health include:
- high sugar intake
- processed foods
- synthetic fats
- unclean water
- persistent organic pollutants
- heavy metals
- antibacterial soap
- stress & lack of sleep
These factors play a direct role in creating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema, and can contribute to aging and glycation or flares in autoimmune diseases.
How To Improve Your Gut Health
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be! While this information makes good gut health seem almost impossible to achieve, there are easy changes we can make to positively impact our health. The first step to a healthier gut is eliminating foods that cause inflammation. Junk food, sugary treats, processed foods and foods that contain artificial sweetener or refined carbohydrates should be drastically cut from our everyday diet. Additionally, gluten, dairy, and even shellfish (which is high in iodine) can trigger acne, so these foods should also be eaten in moderation; saying yes to gluten and dairy free alternatives can help make this lifestyle change easier for you and your family.
A good trick for repairing our gut lining and flora is by drinking bone broth and/or collagen to repair any potential leaking in the lining. Having the right levels of acid in your stomach is important for digestive health as well. Some foods to consider adding into your diet include:
- Apple cider vinegar; taking this diluted with water 30 minutes before eating helps stimulate digestive enzymes
- Fresh squeezed lemon in water; aids digestive health
- Probiotic foods like yogurt, kombucha and pickled vegetables (ex: sauerkraut)
- Prebiotic foods like cabbage, broccoli, avocado & sweet potatoes; these foods help feed the friendly bacteria in your gut
Items on the list above improve the lipid barrier and the skin’s immune system. They also help improve the functioning of the microbiota while all owing the growth and activity of good bacteria, which lives throughout the gut and keep you healthy.
Why Is Gut Health Important?
The old adage is true – we are what we eat, and having beautiful skin is within our reach if we pay attention to our diet choices. Remember, the skin is the largest organ of the body and skincare products and professional skin treatments can only achieve so much. Always strive to address the root cause of your skin symptoms, which starts with a healthy balanced digestive system. Our skin is like a mirror, reflecting what is going on inside of our bodies for us all to see.
Ready to take the next step to achieve glowing skin? Here at Complexions Spa, our Holistic Facial is designed to transform your skin by getting to the heart of your skin imbalances. This completely customized facial includes a thorough consultation about your diet, lifestyle choices and skincare routine. Book online or call the spa to learn more!
Reference: Nutritional Skincare Academy