Gut health 101 – from boosting immune system to getting glowing skin

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Not all of us are looking to lose weight the year, but plenty of us want to get feel happier, boost our energy and make our skin, hair and body look and feel amazing.

And, that means approaching our diet and lifestyle in a different way, but how?

Well, if you’ve paid attention to lifestyle trends over the last few years you’ll know that gut health has emerged as a major new area of interest.

And, with good reason as studies show a healthy gut can massively improve your wellbeing and glow.

Here at the Hot Plate we spoke to Nutritionist Jess Shand, who works for Manifesto, to find out everything there is to know about the “gut biome” and why it’s important.

But what is the gut biome?

Jess explained: “The gut is made up of literally trillions of bacteria strains and microbes, which is what makes up the gut microbiome.

“It’s the microbiome that maintains homeostasis in the body, which is why it’s so important we prioritise the health of our gut via the food we nourish ourselves with as part of a whole-body, ‘inside-out’ approach to strengthening our outer beauty (skin, hair, nails), supporting our immunity and our general health.

“An unbalanced gut can manifest as digestive issues, inflammation, leaky gut and skin flare-ups and as the skin is our largest organ and an area we’re naturally hyper aware of, it’s usually the first place we tend to notice inflammation and that something might be out of balance, which is essentially a reflection of what’s going on internally.

“This topic is what I refer to as the ‘gut-skin connection’ because good gut health really is the key to optimising skin health.”

She added: “Your beauty routine should start in the gut because the best skincare routine is one that treats the skin on the inside and the outside.

“Marrying up a powerful external skincare routine whilst feeding your gut and therefore treating your skin from within by eating a balanced wholefood diet rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, quality protein sources and key vitamins and minerals is crucial when it comes to enhancing your skin health.”

How can you improve gut health?

Jess suggested making simple changes to your diet to improve gut health.

She said: “Increasing dietary fibre and boosting your meals with an abundance of colourful nutrient dense whole foods is simple yet powerful enough to make a difference to what your skin looks like externally and will support your entire body’s functioning.

“You will be providing your internal system with the essential nutrients and gut-feeding fibre (your microbiome’s favourite type of food) as a result you will be aiding your digestive system functioning which will help to eliminate toxins and waste and help maintain hormone equilibrium to support skin and overall health.”

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What happens if you don’t look after your gut?

Jess explained: “Skin inflammation, digestive issues (bloating, excess gas, constipation, loose stools, cramps, pains when passing a stool) which is connected to hormonal imbalances as the body isn’t able to eliminate effectively which is essential to keep hormones in check.

"A cne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis are a manifestation of inflammation happening within the gut.

"Plus, 70% of the body’s immune system cells are found in the gut and so therefore poor gut health can starve the skin of nutrients it needs to look its best. "

She added: “You could potentially waste a lot of time and money on buying skincare products to target your skin externally if your gut is out of balance and needs to be strengthened via skin-feeding nutrient dense foods, a reduction in stress hormone cortisol and with the help of targeted quality supplements such as Manifesto’s edible beauty supplement to help bridge any gaps that you’re not getting from your food intake. “

The nutritionist recommends eating between eight and 10 different plants every day.

Jess also recommends drinking two litres of water a day, getting enough sleep, reducing stress levels and screen time and staying active to keep your gut and skin healthy.

How do you keep yourself looking and feeling great? Tell us in the comments…

  • Skincare
  • NHS
  • Money

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