The relationship between our gut and skin.
As a registered dietitian, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is “what do I eat for glowing skin?!”
I love this question because it allows me to talk about my favorite topic, the gut. Let’s start with the skin-gut connection. Our skin acts as the body’s mirror as to what is going on inside. Breakouts, acne, redness, rosacea and irritation happening on our skin may very well be our body’s way of shouting that our gut’s microbiome is imbalanced and there are inflammatory responses going on. So first and foremost, gut health is number one when it comes to having healthy, radiant skin. If we are not taking care of our gut, skin care products will just act like a band aid on a bullet wound.
So how do we get our gut balanced to prevent the breakouts? It’s all about the pre and probiotics.
Prebiotics are the “food” or energy source for probiotics, the good bacteria that live in our intestines and on our skin. Prebiotics fuel probiotics to flourish and proliferate, making less room for the bad bacteria. Probiotics have the power to boost our energy, mood, and immune system, regulate our digestion and now we know they even have the power to improve the health and appearance of our skin.
Pre and probiotic rich foods are our gut’s best friends. Prebiotics are found in the fibers of fruits and veggies especially artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onion, chicory root and leeks. Live probiotics are found in fermented foods like kimchee, kombucha, cottage cheese and yogurt. As kimchee and kombucha are not daily occurrences for most and dairy can actually have a negative effect on skin, this is where a supplement can be a game changer. When we feed the good bacteria so it can proliferate and grow, we leave less room for the “bad” bacteria that can cause those frustrating breakouts.
Now that we’ve covered the gut, let’s talk about my favorite skin foods.
Our skin loves healthy fats such as avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds. Healthy fats help lubricate the skin from the inside out giving that glow we all covet.
Foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, broccoli and Brussels sprouts provide a boost of antioxidants, which help quench those toxins that can cause premature cell degeneration (ie wrinkles) and boost collagen production keeping our skin youthful and firm.
See below for my bright skin smoothie recipe:
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ¼ avocado
Blend and enjoy!