Your Gut and Your Skin
Skin issues are definitely not skin-deep. Your skin is the largest organ in our body, and it reflects the condition inside your body. The best way to relieve skin problems is to fix the root cause so that they can be taken care of once and for all. And the root cause (as with all chronic conditions) lies in your gut.
Your skin is also the largest detoxifying organ in your body. It is your first line of defense! The minute you ingest something of a chemical nature or an allergen or experience a stressful situation, your skin reacts by breaking out by trying to expel the toxins, whether those we consider real poisons or the ones emitted by our stress hormones. This is when your skin is telling you that you are out of balance, that you are doing things that are not serving you. This is not the time to cover it all up with the fanciest concealers, but instead it is time to undergo a major clean-up.
These are some possible causes of skin conditions:
- Poor digestion and absorption
- Not enough “good” bacteria (gut flora) in the digestive tract
- Overgrowth of candida yeast
- Leaky gut
- Cold sores = immune system is trying to fight off internal infection
- Rash or hives = allergic reaction to food or medications
- Yellowish skin tone = problem with liver
- Vitamin A deficiency produces skin congestion through over-keratinization of skin cells
- Vitamin A and zinc deficiencies lead to lowered ability to fight infection
- Lack of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract leads to lowered ability to fight infection
If you who want that youthful, glowing skin that’s a reflection of the healthy you, of healthy intestines, of healthy and unclogged lymphatic system (your body’s garbage disposal system), you need to start with a cleanse and apply the following:
Remove or limit all sources of wheat, dairy, sugar, processed oils, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and soy. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, and sugar hastens the aging process.
Load up on anti-oxidant-rich foods: Antioxidant-rich foods have the capacity of seeking out and destroying free radicals, which are unstable molecules that make their way through the body, stealing from our healthy cells in an effort to become complete. While they are naturally occurring in the body to some extent, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.
Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if your diet is lacking antioxidants or free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Free radical damage accumulates with age and is a major contributor to wrinkles. By making sure your diet is chock full of the following nutrients, you can provide optimal support of healthy skin:
Omega-3s — Cold-water oily fish are loaded with anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA; look to mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and sardines for the best complexion benefits.
Vitamin A — Antioxidant-rich vitamin A is abundant in dark leafy vegetables and dark orange vegetables. Dark leafy greens are also high in fiber, which slows blood sugar production.
Vitamin C — Antioxidant-rich vitamin C is found in papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, and of course, oranges and grapefruit. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which helps to keep the skin supple. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate foods rich in Vitamin C had fewer wrinkles and less age related dry skin than those who had a diet low in Vitamin C.
Vitamin E — Antioxidant-rich vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, dark leafy greens, papaya, asparagus, and bell peppers.
Selenium — Critical in the production of a glutathione, a substance that combats free radicals, you can find selenium in tuna, cod, halibut, shrimp, salmon, and turkey and lamb.
Antioxidants — You can’t go wrong by loading up on berries, and such purple and deep red foods as acai, pomegranates, purple carrots, black grapes, and beets. The latter contain anthocyanins, which help promote blood flow to the skin.
Fiber — Whole grains help combat inflammatory responses in your body that can trigger a breakout.
Zinc — Found in oysters, crab, lean meats, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, zinc helps reduce oil production that can lead to acne.
Good fats— soothing avocados, coconut oils, coconut milk, and olive oil. These moisturize your skin from the inside out.
To support your digestive system, eat foods that are rich in prebiotic and probiotics. To reduce the overgrowth and candida yeast, avoid sugar and flour. To manage leaky gut, investigate possible food intolerance, such as gluten or lactose.
Hydrate! When cells are dehydrated, they lose their plumpness and structure. Make sure you are drinking at least 33 ml of water per kg of body weight a day (alcohol and caffeinated beverages don’t count). Caffeinated beverages can move fluid out of the body, worsening dehydration.
Look into poor calcium metabolism – calcium is a drying mineral, and if it’s not processed properly, it can get dumped into the “wrong places”, including the skin. You can find out by having a hair analysis done.
Look into your thyroid health, as low thyroid hormone level can cause many symptoms, including dry skin.
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