Discussing digestion isn’t exactly sexy – gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn and tummy aches, oh my! But there is very good reason to talk about digestion when talking about acne.
There is a lot of fascinating information regarding how our digestion affects the rest of our body and I could tell you all about it, but you probably aren’t here for an anatomy and physiology lesson. So, instead of giving you all those details, I’ll summarize it very briefly. (But if you, like me, enjoy the biology aspect, you can get more detailed information from this article and this interview by Chris Kresser. He does an excellent job of explaining how digestion impacts your skin.)
Simply stated, there is a relationship between healthy digestion and healthy skin. It has been dubbed the gut-skin axis. Various problems of the digestive tract can cause systemic inflammation and/or hormonal changes within the body, which can lead to problems with our skin.
So, if you’ve been experiencing grumbles, pains, burns, or general discomfort in your stomach or guts, it is worthwhile to focus on improving those problems, which in turn will help your skin.
Here are six things you can start doing today to help your digestion.
1. Keep a food journal. You cannot manage what you do not measure. Taking a few minutes a day to keep track of your food and your symptoms will go a long way in helping you problem solve your digestive issues. It may be as simple as figuring out a certain food disagrees with you and avoiding that food. But you won’t know which food until you start taking notes.
2. If possible, do not eat when stressed. Our bodies do not want food during times of stress (even though our emotions sometimes tell us otherwise). The digestive system goes into sleep mode during stress. If you’re feeling stressed, take a few conscious moments to relax yourself before eating. Even just a few minutes of slow, deep breaths can help.
3. Consume fermented foods and/or probiotic supplements. Many digestive problems stem from too much bad bacteria inside your guts. Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria that help with proper digestion. Good food sources of probiotics come from real, plain yogurt (avoid flavored yogurt with added sugars and ingredients), unpasteurized sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, real miso. Click here for an excellent probiotic supplement.
4. Stay hydrated. Water helps keep things moving in your digestive track. Drink water or other unsweetened fluids throughout the day.
5. Be mindful of fluid intake. I know the previous tip was to drink more water, but you actually want to be careful not to drink too much fluid around meal times. Drinking a lot of fluids with meals lowers the pH of your stomach and can impede proper digestion. When possible, stop drinking most fluids 1 hour before and 2 hours after major meals. Only sip small amounts of fluids with meals.
6. Avoid smoking, limit alcohol and coffee. Liquor, coffee, and cigarettes can interfere with the functioning of your digestive system, and lead to problems like stomach ulcers and heartburn.
Take each of these suggestions to heart. Make a plan to incorporate at least one into your life this week, and another each additional week. Six weeks from now you can have better functioning insides, and clearer skin.
What do you think? Can you do these? Which do you think you will try first? I love hearing from you, so let me know in the comments below.
Until next time,