Healthy Gut, Healthy You!

I know, I sound like a convert, but I’ve been reading so much about the effects that gut flora and gut health in general has on the rest of the body, including skin, and I really want to share my new-found knowledge with you as it’s so fascinating – and important.

In these times when we are hyper-aware of bacteria and viruses, did you know that you actually have more bacterial cells than human cells in your gut? They are amazing organisms; not only do they help with digestion, but they also interact with the immune system and other parts of the body to help keep us healthy. According to experts, a huge proportion of our immune system is in our gut, what scientists call the ‘microbiome’.

This microbiome has the potential to influence everything from your immune system to your mood and affects everything from allergies to weight gain or loss. It’s really important to keep your good bacteria levels topped up as you get older, because they help you fight off infection and may even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. It’s also thought that having your microbiome in better balance can help to regulate mood and prevent common gut disorders.

It’s really fascinating. It also follows that cultivating ‘good’ bacteria in our gut is something we need to be very mindful of, as there are so many lifestyle factors that work against them, depleting these natural health and beauty giving cultures.

So, how can you improve the health of your gut microbiome?

Top tips for boosting good gut bacteria

1. Eat more fermented foods; kefir, miso and kombucha. If they don’t appeal to you, try a supplement instead?

2. Eat more of a type of fibre called ‘prebiotic’ which supports growth of gut flora; try adding more asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, onions and wholegrains.

3. Reduce sugar and artificial sweeteners in your diet as they can throw the biome out of balance.

4. Try and get your stress levels under control; your gut flora hates it when you get stressed!

5. Get enough sleep.

6. Avoid antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary. Antibiotics kill the bad bugs very effectively, but they take the good guys out with them. If you do have to take them, try to replace the gut bacteria with supplements and good diet as soon as you’re off them.

7. Keep up the exercise (this may help with 4 and 5…)

8. Don’t smoke.

These tips will help you to boost your gut bacteria and in turn will help you to feel and look even better.

Gut microbiome and skin health

Skin condition is something else that’s linked to gut health; that’s something I talked more about in my blog post last month.

Dermatologists John Stokes and Donald Pillsbury established the link between gut flora and healthy skin over 70 years ago when they studied people with acne and realised that gut flora was different in people who suffered with severe acne. Skin conditions like acne, eczema and dermatitis are actually thought to be symptoms of problems elsewhere in body. Good bacteria balance supports the immune system as the ‘good’ bacteria consumes ‘bad’ bacteria - which secretes damaging toxins - so it follows that keeping a balance of good and bad bacteria keeps not only our gut but also our skin and physical health, in a good balance.

I can recommend probiotic supplement, if you’re looking for extra support with your microbiome health. The supplement contains strains of active good bacteria which are designed to support and increase levels of healthy bacteria, boosting your overall health and preventing the inflammation that goes with acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. Just contact me for more information!

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