We recommend feeding your body from the inside out as the number one way to achieve beautiful skin, and that means keeping your gut happy like a toddler on the edge of a tantrum. If you irritate it too much, it can explode (literally) and it can be difficult to calm down and get back on track.
The reason for this is that our stomach needs a healthy barrier to support a population of gut bacteria or microbiota (both good and bad bacteria). Our body's way of producing this protective, microbe-managing barrier is by creating the colonic mucus barrier. This colonic mucus barrier acts as a layer between our stomach wall and gut bacteria that will stop our microbiota from running rampant.
If your colonic mucus barrier is non-existent or even weak, our microbes can penetrate and deteriorate it opening our body up to inflammation, infection, and disease. You can usually tell if your barrier is weak as you will become prone to illness or infections, fatigue and can find it hard to focus.
Our gut microbiota is as essential to our health and body and is considered by some health experts as a self-contained organ. But while most of our organs tick along and function in a natural way that has been set out by our genetic coding, our gut bacteria's functioning is very much influenced by our environment and the food that we're eating. The more nutritional and gut-supporting foods we ingest, the healthier you'll feel (inside and out) and the less sick or run-down you'll be.
So when we deprive our gut microbes of their guilty pleasure foods (dietary fibre), they will start to feed on alternative things, including the colonic mucus barrier. This deterioration of our healthy gut-protecting barrier means we are left feeling lethargic, gassy or bloated after meals, prone to sickness as well as yeast infections, craving carbs or sweet treats and you can also find it harder to lose weight.
We generally put these feelings down to not enough sleep or too much work/stress but in actual fact a lot of the time the issue will come down to our gut health and digestion, which makes it all the more important to get right and look after!
So the best ways to keep our gut happy and healthy?
Probiotics are an amazing supplement for your gut – they can withstand the harsh conditions of our stomach long enough to make it into our large intestines and help build up our gut health. They come in pill form or you can find them in yoghurts or cultured soy milk.
As dietary fibre is our microbiotas guilty pleasure, meals full of nuts, vegetables, berries, oatmeal, beans and grains are going to not only improve digestion but also make your microbes joyful.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and miso paste contain beneficial enzymes as well as various strains of probiotics. They gain these through the fermentation process and allows food in your stomach to be broken down easily and allow easy digestion.
Broccoli or other Cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, cauliflower) are rich in sulfur-containing metabolites, known as glucosinolates. These are broken down by our microbes to release substances that reduce inflammation and the risk of bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancer.