Our fast-paced lifestyle and processed foods have traded natural-boosting good bacteria for residual pesticides, like glyphosate, which can harm your health.
Today, terms like food sensitivity, fermented foods, and gut health are common searches as people are looking for permanent and healthy solutions to the issues they face daily. When you’re addressing how to heal your gut holistically (simply put, you’re looking at the root causes of issues), you’re most likely going to begin by looking at what you’re eating and how to boost your digestive health.
Let’s take a look at why you may need to help your gut, how to boost your gut microbes and reduce inflammation in your body, including your skin!
Why and How to Heal Your Gut
Many people start on this journey due to digestive issues like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth) — but did you know that many physical systems are connected directly to your digestive system?
We all have a unique makeup of good (and harmful) bacteria living inside us, called gut microbiota or gut flora. Approximately 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria live in your digestive system, to be exact! Our genes to our mother’s microbiome during pregnancy, to our own lifestyle choices all, play a part in what our specific bacteria look like.
Scientist have begun to find correlations between distinct disease and gut bacteria, including —
- Inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s and Colitis
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Colon Cancer
- Hormone Issues
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Skin Conditions
- Central Nervous System disorders, including anxiety, depression, and autism
Knowing that you can help your body heal from — and overcome — specific issues simply through choosing healthier options is empowering and time-consuming, all at the same time. You CAN see life change from eating more nutritious food, but it can be a long road to eliminating certain trigger foods and restoring proper balance to your digestive system.
For a fully customized plan on how to heal your gut, we encourage people to find a holistic practitioner or nutritionist to help you uncover what your body needs for the road to recovery.
But here are a few things to look out for — and some simple ways to start feeling better.
How do I know I have an unhealthy digestive system?
Typically, you will have a few symptoms of an unhealthy digestive system that make it difficult to function at total capacity.
Instead of jumping out of bed, ready to tackle the day, you may feel drained and simply unhealthy. You may experience —
- Regular digestive disturbances, like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn.
- Unintentionally gaining or losing weight. Your gut balance can directly impact how your body processes nutrients.
- Sleep issues. If you experience insomnia, feel exhausted when you wake up or suffer from chronic fatigue, you may have an unhealthy digestive system.
- Food sensitivities or intolerances may be due to poor gut bacteria and your stomach not being able to digest your trigger foods.
- Inflammation. An unhealthy gut can lead to inflammation throughout the body and cause autoimmune conditions and inhibit how your immune system works.
- Skin Conditions. If your gut is “leaking” some proteins into your bloodstream, they can travel throughout your body and cause or worsen skin conditions like eczema, acne, and rosacea.
If you have a high sugar diet or find that you suffer from these issues, you may need to cut certain foods from your diet to see what’s “feeding” the harmful bacteria — and begin to add in probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods to encourage good bacteria growth.
What are probiotics, and how do they help?
Probiotics are live bacteria that contribute to a healthy gut microbiome through either foods or supplements. You can take probiotics and prebiotic supplements, or you can find them in fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, pickles, and sourdough bread. Fruits like bananas, watermelon, and grapefruit are also a great source!
What to do to restore gut health
Much of restoring gut health comes down to finding your food triggers and making healthy food choices. But here are some steps to restore your gut —
1. Eat a balanced diet, rich in fiber. This includes oatmeal, beans, nuts, and many fruits.
2. Eat raw probiotic foods, including kefir (dairy) or kombucha (non-dairy), pickled foods like pickles, kimchi, or sauerkraut).
3. Manage your physical and mental stress.
4. Exercise and getting outdoors can help you process your stress and improve your overall wellbeing.
5. Get better sleep. Ensure you’re putting your devices away a few hours before bedtime, not eating late, and reading or meditating to help your body relax.
6. Seek help from a nutritionist or a therapist for anxiety and depression. There is a genuine brain-gut connection, and when one is out of balance, it negatively impacts the other. Seeking help for both can significantly improve your chances of healing.
How a healthy gut benefits skin health
Reduce inflammation. When your immune system is in high gear, fighting off the bad bacteria, your body may express it through skin inflammation — a rash, blisters, pimples, or itchy skin. Repairing your gut health helps you reduce inflammation and ultimately heal your skin.
Reduces some forms of rosacea, acne, and eczema. You may wonder, “Do probiotics and good gut health help with acne?” Your entire body and skin microbiome are either in balance or are in dysbiosis. When you can restore some balance to your gut health through your diet and supplements or directly to the skin through topical probiotics, you can see some relief from the most troublesome sensitive skin conditions!
Your skin care products can provide help, but having a balanced microbiome can help you attack the issues from the inside out! You can do double duty by incorporating a skincare product that has topical probiotics for skin health.
Promotes anti-aging in your body. Concerned about collagen breakdown and sagging skin? When you’re not eating the proper foods and your digestive system isn’t working well, you are more likely to see your skin integrity fail. Eating vegetables, legumes, and olive oil can help protect against sun and other skin damage. Supplementing with collagen can help your digestion improve as well as support your natural production of peptides, which are the building blocks to restoring collagen in your face.
When you’re considering how to heal your gut and implementing some of these changes, remember — any steps you take toward a healthier life can help you long term. Be sure to make each change a permanent one by taking small, sustainable changes — for life and wellness!