Outer Beauty From Within
Outer beauty isn’t just about your genes or your workout regimen. In large part, it’s determined by your inner health and, specifically, your gut health. Your gut contains “good” bacteria that are essential for your digestion, health and overall wellness. A healthy gut promotes outer beauty as well, from glowing skin to a smaller jean size. One way to help nourish your healthy gut bacteria is by incorporating probiotics into your diet.
The Human Microbiome
Our bodies are full of microorganisms. Full! In fact, there are over ten times more microbial cells in our bodies than human cells. This ecological community inside us is known as the “human microbiome” and it’s closely connected to our health and wellness. Some of these microorganisms do us good (e.g., healthy gut bacteria), while others do us harm (e.g., parasites and viruses). In 2008, the Human Microbiome Project was created to identify and characterize the various microorganisms found in humans. By studying these microbial communities, researchers hoped to gain a better understanding of the role they play in human health and disease.
One of the five body sites emphasized by the Human Microbiome Project was the gut. Our gut is full of bacteria that do all sorts of helpful things for our digestion, health and overall wellness. It’s “good” bacteria. The gut is an ecosystem that we must nourish, support and feed to keep healthy. Unfortunately, antibiotics, poor eating habits and even birth control pills have negatively impacted the delicate balance of this ecosystem. One way to help support your gut and nourish healthy gut bacteria is to supplement with probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that support your gut health. They’re more of the good stuff—“good” bacteria that help support your digestive system. There are a few different ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Supplement With Pill Probiotics: One way to take probiotics is in pill form. There are many different supplements out there. Here are a few tips for selecting the right one for you:
· Aim for 80 million live cultures. This will help to keep your ecosystem flourishing, diverse, alive and well.
· Support your large and small intestines with both lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains.
· Choose a soil based or refrigerated option to ensure your bacteria are live.
Eat Fermented Foods: You can also add probiotics by eating fermented foods. On top of delivering live probiotics to our bodies, fermentation also makes our food more nutritious and easier to digest. Here are a few fermented foods you can try:
· Pickles, yogurts and sauerkraut
· Natto (fermented soy)
· Kimchi (fermented cabbage)
· Kefir (fermented milk)
· Kombucha (fermented tea)
With dairy, the fermentation process breaks down the lactose, lowering the carbohydrate and sugar content and helping decrease the allergen lactose. Vegetable fermentation breaks down the food, making nutrients and minerals more bioavailable in the body.
Feed Your Healthy Gut Bacteria
So you’ve taken probiotics in pill form or by eating fermented foods. What next? Now you need to feed your healthy gut bacteria! They eat prebiotics. Prebiotics are resistant starches that can be found in starchy vegetables. Feeding prebiotics to your good bacteria helps ensure you have healthy digestion, immune system function and bowel movements. It will also help reduce the ability of disease-causing microorganisms (e.g., candida, yeast, albicans or fungi) to populate the colon.
You can supplement prebiotics naturally, without pills. This beneficial fiber exists out there in nature, you just need to eat it. Here are a few sources:
· Raw chicory root (64.6%) – 1/3 oz
· Raw Jerusalem artichoke (31.5%) – 3/4 oz – not the green globe
· Raw dandelion greens (24.3%) – 1 oz
· Raw garlic (17.5%) – 1.2 oz
· Raw leek (11.7%) – 1.8 oz
· Raw onion (8.6%) – 2.5 oz
· Cooked onion (5%) – 4 oz
· Raw Asparagus: (5%) - 4 oz
Healthy Gut Healthy Skin
So why does this matter? Gut flora significantly influences the health and glow of our skin. Antibiotics, birth control and/or poor eating habits can disrupt gut bacteria and induce the release of a peptide (substance P) that plays a major role in skin conditions. Dysbiosis (or microbial imbalance) has also been shown in 61% of acne sufferers, and probiotics have been shown to reduce acne in 80% of sufferers. The answer for clear skin is a dirty gut (…by dirty gut I mean full of healthy bacteria).
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