You have heard so much advice from health gurus on healthier skin through dieting.
“Become a vegan!”
“Drink a gallon of water a day”
“Stop eating sugar”
“Never eat processed foods”
“Cleanse your body with (insert ridiculous and magical tea, juice, supplement or pills)”
Well I think you get the picture. My point is that these are ridiculous accusations and a journey to healthier skin is much more complex than “just eating/not eating this or that”. It would be easy for me to just lie to you and say that it was easy, but that’s not what I do. The health of your skin has to do with so many factors from hormones, genetics, and environment to consumption and stress.
What I am going to bring to light to you today is what has the biggest contribution to skin health and that is…….
YOUR GUT HEALTH! Specifically, the STRESS that causes an imbalance in your gut health.
Stress plays such a huge role in your gut health. Stress can be factored by many aspects in your life as well. Each tip covers a different aspect that can be improved upon.
1. Sleep – Did you know we cannot even survive 2 weeks without sleep? You NEED sleep and so does your gut! Your gut can also affect your sleep. They can set each other up for failure, or success. Your microbiome produces your “sleep” hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and melatonin. Lack of sleep, or not enough sleep can cause an imbalance in stress hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. Without appropriate sleep, this can become a viscous cycle causing an increase in inflammation which contributes to acne and breakouts. The imbalance in hormones alone can directly cause acne. Sleeping is also the time that the body uses to heal and reduce inflammation. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults ages 18-64 years old. So get your sleep in and your skin will thank you!
2. Hydration – I do agree that drinking water is very important. When we are dehydrated, we cause an imbalance in electrolytes. Our body tries to compensate for this imbalance which causes stress and makes it more difficult for the body to do its job such as removing an excess of toxins (thank you kidneys!)
Remember that drinking water is not the only way to hydrate though. Also, you don’t have to specifically drink a gallon per day. Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of water they need. I may need approximately ¾ of a gallon whereas my boyfriend who is 6 foot and very active may need 1-2 gallons. The best way to find out how much you need is by becoming intune with yourself and your body. Hint: you can also check the color of your pee (a light yellow is perfect). See my post on a great hydration hack which helps with electrolyte balance.
3. Exploring a variety of foods- Your gut loves a variety of foods. With a variety of foods, you can supply it with all the nutrients it needs (to name a few):
prebiotics, probiotics, fats, electrolytes, fiber (in general), vitamins, minerals, volume…. Yes, that’s right. I said volume. Just the volume of food is beneficial for your gut because not eating anything causes air to build up, or gas. So not eating enough is not going to help. Only eating XYZ is not going to help. Restricting XYZ is not going to help.
Your gut needs a variety of foods to thrive. Some foods to try out along with your existing eating pattern are fruits, vegetables, spices, fermented foods, beans/legumes, oats, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and wheat containing foods.
4. Mood – Enjoy life, be positive! Your gut is affected when you’re anxious, sad, mad, and happy. Have you ever had constipation or diarrhea, or have the urge to run to the bathroom when you’re nervous about something? This is just a simple example of your gut being affected by emotions.
5. Environment – By environment I mean pollution, smoke, alcohol, viruses, fungi, topical creams, ointments, perfumes, hair products, skin care products. All of these affect your microbiome, intern, affecting your skin health.