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Eating for Beauty Starts with a Healthy Gut!

On the 7th of May, I was invited by Jelmoli in Zurich, Switzerland to talk about how we can nourish our skin and outer beauty. Given that it is such a hot topic with all the anti-ageing hype, I thought I would share top questions & answers from the interview. And they go a little something like this…

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Where does beauty really start on the inside?

As the saying goes ” Beauty is skin deep”, which is quite literal! You can say that beauty starts with our digestive system and what we expose it to. 

Our digestive system is a complicated and “beautiful” network of organs where it’s main role is the breakdown and digestion of nutrients to be used by our body for normal functions that keep us alive, for energy, growth and repair and also eliminating wastes. Given this massive role, we need to consider what really goes into our mouth.

What does bacteria have to do with beauty?

Who would’ve thought, those two words would make it into one sentence?! Bacteria and beauty does not sound sexy! Our bodies house millions and millions of bacteria, highly colonised in our digestive tract (specifically the intestines) and they have become important to our overall health and well-being, even skin health. Why?

There is emerging evidence that bacterial colonies in our gut influence disease state, immunity and overall health. There are even studies looking at links to chronic diseases such  as obesity and diabetes. What we nourish our bodies with appears to influence the conditions of our gut’s bacterial balance i.e.  the ratio of good vs bad bacteria. When our bodies are in the right state, healthy gut bacteria promote inner goodness by providing nutrients and energy to support our metabolism and immunity. If our bodies house more bad than good i.e. a negative state of balance, bacteria are believed to become a source of inflammation and infection, potentially contributing to digestive disease and other illnesses. 

With regards to skin health, several studies looked at a possible gut-skin connection specifically looking at skin conditions such as acne and bacterial imbalances (e.g. SIBO- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) in the body. Evidence showed that correcting the bacterial overgrowth of the “unwanted” type showed significant skin improvement. 

 So can we claim that inner “beauty foods” really work?

Well, if we want to associate “beauty food” with bacterial balance then there are definitely some food additions that can fix our gut. First of all, switching to wholegrains and adding lots of coloured vegetables is one way. Another approach would be adding probiotics or even fermented foods to our diet. This can help our gut by increasing the number of good bacteria and in turn, inhibiting the bad ones; a bacterial “balancing” act. Examples of fermented foods apart from dairy include kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir. A well balanced diet with the right additions can boost our immunity, improve gut health and how we feel on the inside.balance

Which foods can help us get beautiful skin? 

There are specific nutrients known to provide skin protection and maintain its integrity. These foods include a whole range of vitamins and minerals with antioxidant properties such as the following:

  • Vitamin C plays in important role in the regulation of collagen, which is needed for skin elasticity. Sources include citrus fruits, strawberries, rock melon, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli and cabbage.
  • Zinc is a mineral known to help with skin healing and regeneration. Sources include wholemeal and wholegrain breads and cereal, milk, seafood, chicken, lentils and beans. 
  • Vitamin E is another antioxidant that can boost your skin’s health. Sources include vegetables oils, nuts and seeds. 
  • Other top additions include healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, chia seeds and walnuts. 

Do I have to change my whole diet if I want to be beautiful? 

Not at all! That can be overwhelming for people when you have to completely change everything. Start with small things such as adding colour to your meals. For example, make sure that ½ your plate always includes a variety of vegetables at lunch and dinner. One goal at a time will make it easier to maintain changes long term.

There are just so many different opinions on the subject of nutrition that consumers have become so confused. What do we need to be careful with?

There’s a massive trend of how everyone nowadays is considered a nutrition expert and yes,not only has it created confusion but also can hold dangerous side effects.

When it comes to health and nutrition, be critical of what you read and who you follow. Not everyone who posts a pretty food photo or has a six-pack is an expert. Advice that comes with a “label”, a “promise” or follows a certain “movement” is bound to be another fad. It is important to distinguish people who are a source of inspiration vs those who are a source of misinformation, which can be dangerous. Bottom line is, check for their qualifications and never follow a trend just because your friends did after something they read or saw on Instagram. 

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A massive thank you to Jelmoli for hosting a fantastic night with some great experts including Matthew Tyler from Tom Ford and Sylvaine Delacourte from Guerlain. 

3 Comments
  1. Couldn’t agree more! When I started focusing on getting my “gut in check” with addition of enzymes as well as eliminating inflammatory foods not only has my energy and mood improved but also my skin!

    • Thank you for sharing! It’s funny how women spend $$$$ on skin care products first before getting their food in check!

  2. Indeed! You are what you eat, and if you start eating right, you will definitely feel and look right. Such a very informative article!

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