Guest blog from Nutritionist Roz McIntosh

Digestive Health and your Skin

⦁ Just as eyes are the windows to the soul, skin can be thought of as a window to your overall health, because often if we are seeing visible signs of imbalance in our skin there could be something deeper within that needs to be addressed.

⦁ Although the connection may not seem apparent at first, the health of your digestive system is fundamental to the health of your skin.

⦁ To have that healthy glowing skin that we all want, you need to feed it the right nutrients. Unfortunately the old saying “you are what you eat “ is not entirely correct, we are in fact what we absorb.

⦁ The first areas to suffer from nutritional insufficiency are usually your hair skin and nails, as your body prioritises nutrients for your vital organs.

⦁ Lets start at the beginning, you don’t have any teeth in your tummy so all the chewing has to happen in your mouth. Many of us are in such a hurry when we eat that we fail to chew our food properly. Not only does it limit the amount of nutrients available for absorption, but it can lead to food fermenting in our digestive system and the by product of that fermentation is gas, creating that horrible bloated, windy feeling.

⦁ Next along the digestive journey are enzymes. These substances help to further break down the food into small molecules that our body can absorb. A common problem is lack of stomach acid. The symptoms of this can be reflux, bloating, gas and facial redness. An easy fix is to have some lemon juice squeezed into some water first thing in the morning and half an hour before eating. This fires up our digestive juices ready to break down the incoming meal.

⦁ Getting to the bottom of food sensitivities is another key area to focus on. The most common problematic foods are dairy and gluten. Almost everyone seems to benefit from reducing their intake of these inflammatory foods but if you were having digestive symptoms of any kind I would strongly recommend eliminating them for a trial period of at least 21 days.

⦁ Underlying intolerances lead to generalised inflammation and inflammatory by-products over burden your digestive system, liver, lymphatics and kidneys. When your body is overburdened with the wrong types of foods, this inflammatory load puts increased pressure on the elimination and excretion of waste through all elimination organs, inclusive of the skin, potentially leading to breakouts and inflammation.

⦁ Food sensitivities can also contribute to inflammation of the intestinal wall lining, that paired with a high sugar diet and a lack of good bacteria in the gut is a recipe for a “Leaky Gut”. In this case the gaps between the cells of the gut lining come apart slightly allowing food proteins to enter the blood system that would not normally be able to. This can lead to your immune system becoming hyper reactive and lead to inflammation all around the body and in some cases inflammation of the skin in the form of eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes and hives.

⦁ Our microbiome is a complex symbiotic relationship we have with the good and bad microbes living in and on us. We have roughly 2kg of bacteria, fungi and viruses living in us at any one time, it could almost be thought of as another organ. This relationship between our beneficial bacteria and us is central when it comes to our immune system, digestion and probiotics (good bacteria) are even responsible for helping us to assimilate nutrients from our food and actually produce many vitamins themselves. So to provide our skin all the nutrients that it requires to glow we need to have a healthy, happy team of “good guys” in our gut.

My top tips for getting your digestive system functioning properly are…

  1. ⦁Sorting out any food intolerances and eliminating the most problematic foods.
  2. Introducing probiotics into your diet in the form of supplements and fermented foods.
  3. Double your intake of vegetables (the fibre helps to feed the good bacteria) and provides our skin with a multitude of nutrients and phytonutrients.
  4. Drink plenty of water and water with lemon in the morning and before meals.
  5. Reduce or eliminate refined sugars, they feed the bad bacteria and cause premature aging.
  6. Avoid the use of antibiotics and antibacterial cleaning products.
  7. Some of my favourite probiotic foods are:

About the Author

Roz McIntosh is a qualified Integrative Nutrition Coach with a background as a Registered Nurse. Roz works with women in a range of area’s including, energy, weight management, stress management and anxiety, digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivities or simply those who are totally confused about conflicting nutritional advice and want to know how to feed their families healthy real food.
She uses and “Integrative” approach to health, taking into account all the various factors that contribute to great overall wellbeing. By working with clients one on one, real, lasting, sustainable change is achievable.⦁