Left: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Marty S.
It is reported that there are as many as 100 trillion bacteria living in your digestive system. Given that amount, it is no question then that gut bacteria have a huge influence on the rest of your body. Yes, even the quality of your skin and hair can be the result of your gut health. If you are taking care of yourself and you are nourishing the good gut bacteria, your gut health will be great shape and you will experience better digestion, less inflammation, and beautiful skin and hair. Conversely, if there are more bad bacteria than good bacteria in your gut, your overall health may decline and you may start to see dull skin and lackluster hair.
Unfortunately, many of us aren’t doing enough when it comes to our gut health, for example, we aren’t eating the right foods or making the right lifestyle choices. Some of us don’t even recognize that addressing your gut health is just as important as treating a cold or a fever. The bottom line is that if we take better care of our gut, we will start to radiate with youth both externally and internally, and our skin and hair will thank us for it. Improving your gut health is a gradual process, but with these 5 easy tips, it is not hard. (If you combine these tips with a natural skin care routine and hair care routine, your results will surely be amazing!)
1. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress can do some serious damage to our skin and hair, in more ways than one. Not only does it have a direct effect on our body by changing the way it functions (which you can learn more about here), but it also has a negative impact on our gut health, which, in turn, affects our skin and hair. Our gut and brain are deeply connected, and if there is a problem in the former, it will likely affect the latter and vice versa. For instance, stress can cause and be caused by gastrointestinal issues, which, if you’re not careful, can create a terrible cycle. Therefore, you must learn how to manage your stress effectively. Reducing your stress levels can diminish bodily discomfort, promote gut health, and boost the look of your skin and hair in the process. Managing stress is different for everyone, but if you would like a few tips to get you started, click here.
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2. Eat More Whole Foods
Our gut can undergo a lot of stress because of our diet. Even though we may love to eat foods like canned food, sweets, and cereal, these foods are processed foods, which are
well-known for having a lot of fat and refined sugars. The fat and sugar typically found in this type of food can be dangerous for our gut bacteria and upset the balance between good and bad bacteria.
If you want to improve your gut health (while also promoting beautiful skin and hair), make a switch towards whole foods in your diet. These include whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Whole foods are rich in nutrients that will greatly benefit your gut bacteria. Whole foods also tend to be high in fiber, which helps your digestive system and has been linked to weight loss. You may not be getting enough fiber in your current diet, which is why you should make the switch to whole foods today.
3. Switch to Organic Foods
Another reason to avoid processed food? They tend to be filled with additives and preservatives. Although these chemicals may make food taste slightly better and last longer, these chemicals are not doing any favors to our good gut bacteria. Preservatives have been linked to increased inflammation levels in your body, which can lead to poor health as well as lackluster skin and hair. We want to avoid inflammation as much as possible, especially since it can cause acne, redness, itchy scalp, et cetera.
To avoid processed food, make sure that your food is organic. Not only is organic food better for you because it is made with no harsh chemicals but also it tends to be a fresher product. When you eat organic food, you rest easy knowing that you're eating food that is filled with only nutrients that will benefit your gut health. Some of the best organic food is grown locally so check out your local farmer’s market if you are serious about changing your diet for the better. Keep in mind, though, that while whole foods and organic food are beneficial to your gut health, they are not the same so look for products that are both.
If you need more tips to improve the quality of your skin and hair, watch this video to get Sheetal’s personal lifestyle tips. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
4. Add Prebiotics & Probiotics to Your Diet
Aside from eating whole foods and organic foods, there are also some foods that can provide a direct benefit to your gut health and gut bacteria. These foods are known as prebiotics and probiotics.
Prebiotics are food that our gut bacteria consumes in order to stay healthy and nourished. Think of it this way - when you’re hungry and you feel your energy is slowly fading, you’ll usually eat something that will be invigorating and perk your spirits right back up. That same logic can be applied to our gut bacteria. They need prebiotics so that they can do their job well. Prebiotics aren’t as well-known as probiotics, but they are just as important to your gut health. Some classic examples of prebiotics include dandelion greens, oats, and apples.
Although there are many different kinds of probiotics (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium), they are all live bacteria that can function similarly to our good bacteria. For example, if our gut has been overtaken by bad bacteria, probiotics can help our good bacteria and restore balance to our digestive system. Probiotics can also act as a substitute for our good bacteria in case they are ever low in quantity. Fermentation is typically a sign that a food is a probiotic so fermented foods like soy yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut are a must in your diet.
5. Limit Drug & Antibiotic Usage
Although some drugs and antibiotics may be able to help in certain situations, too much of either of them can seriously affect your gut health. Whether it’s for a cold or a
stomachache, antibiotics can eliminate your gut bacteria. Since antibiotics cannot tell the difference between good and bad bacteria, they eliminate them both. Getting rid of your bad gut bacteria may sound like a good thing, but getting rid of your good gut bacteria is far worse. Less good bacteria in your gut will leave you more vulnerable to bad bacteria taking over your system and developing digestive issues, a weaker immunity, et cetera, not to mention lifeless skin and hair.
We’re not saying that you should avoid antibiotics completely, especially if you have a serious infection or illness. However, if you do feel are feeling sick or under the weather, don’t immediately rush to drugs or antibiotics. Instead, consult a doctor to find out what’s the best course of action for you. If you do end up using drugs or antibiotics to get better, you should eat more organic, whole foods as well as probiotics and prebiotics during and after your antibiotic usage. Since antibiotics will change your gut health, you should at least be eating foods that will encourage more good gut bacteria growth.
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Go natural. It is good karma!