What is the gut-skin axis anyway?

The Beauty Chef - What is the gut-skin axis anyway?

 

By Ashley Cameron

It’s no secret that our gut is now commonly referred to as our second brain. In fact, our gut and brain communicate closely with one another via the vagus nerve – essentially an information ‘super-highway’.

But what you may not realise, is that our gut and skin also enjoy a constant dialogue via the gut-skin axis – an incredible pathway which allows the two to converse and interact, mainly through the microbiome.

 

HOW THE GUT INFLUENCES THE SKIN

Have you ever noticed that when your gut appears to be ticking along nicely, you don’t pay much attention to it? For most of us, until symptoms manifest, we don’t give our gut health as much TLC as we should. And for many of us, our skin (as our body’s largest organ) is one of the first places to alert us that something within our microbiome may be a little off-kilter.

There are many common skin conditions – such as acne, eczema and rosacea – which exhibit similar symptoms to gut conditions, illustrating just how closely the two are linked. It makes sense then that if your gut is feeling irritated, inflamed or a little out of balance, your skin can be one of the first places where symptoms manifest.

At The Beauty Chef, we often describe our gut as being like a garden – so when the soil is healthy and well-balanced nutritionally, plants are able to thrive and flourish. In terms of our gut, this analogy rings true as when our gut is in balance – with the ideal numbers and diversity of beneficial microbes – we experience optimal health and wellbeing, and glowing skin!

 

READING THE SIGNS

What’s important then, is to learn how to tune into your body and understand your gut’s signals, as determining whether your skin condition is directly caused by your gut can sometimes be problematic. Unless your symptoms are overt – such as breaking out in a rash if you consume dairy or gluten – the connection between our gut health and skin health can be subtle.

While there are a myriad of digestive issues that may contribute to skin complaints, studies show, for example, that up to 40 per cent of people who have IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) also experience skin complaints. And, if you have rosacea and/or acne, you’re more inclined to also have SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).

Leaky gut (or intestinal permeability), in particular, is believed by many to be one of the leading causes of both gut and skin issues. Essentially this condition means that the delicate gut lining has been irritated and its integrity compromised allowing endotoxins – which would ordinarily be processed and eliminated – to enter the bloodstream. The effects of leaky gut on the skin are also double-pronged as it can mean that fewer of the essential nutrients that are needed for optimal skin health are absorbed, and, as the liver can become overburdened due to having to deal with the escaped endotoxins, our skin is required to ‘pick up the slack’ and help to eliminate any extra toxins and wastes that need to be expelled.

 

NOURISH YOUR GUT GARDEN FOR GLOWING SKIN

The good news is, we can take steps to improve our skin’s health and radiance by turning our attention to our gut-skin axis and nourishing our relationship with our microbiome. Although there are a number of ways to do this – including de-stressing, sleeping well and avoiding environmental toxins – food, undoubtedly, has the most profound impact.

Eat unadulterated wholefoods.

Food is medicine so fill your plate with organic, seasonal produce which is often fresher and more nutrient-dense. Focus on including foods that are rich in skin-loving nutrients such as zinc (pumpkin seeds, red meat and chicken), vitamin D (mushrooms and salmon), vitamin A (eggs and liver) and amino acids such as L-glutamine (present in bone broth) which help to protect and strengthen the gut wall. Fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are also nutritional powerhouses and incredible for skin health as aside from the vitamins and minerals they contain, the fibre they possess helps to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate. These SCFAs harbour anti-inflammatory benefits and help to improve the integrity of the gut lining and by consequence, contribute to less inflamed, more radiant skin. Add artichokes, asparagus, apples and carrots to your diet to boost SCFA production.

Include lacto-fermented foods and supplements.

Fermented foods are at the core of The Beauty Chef philosophy and are incredible for gut health, increasing the bioavailability of nutrients in food, providing the gut with a generous dose of probiotic bacteria and helping to encourage microbial diversity. Serve a little kimchi or sauerkraut with your meals or try incorporating one of our bio-fermented inner beauty products to your daily routine. GLOW Inner Beauty Powder is our go-to and is rich in Certified Organic, bio-fermented superfoods to nourish your microbiome and rejuvenate your skin.

Avoid foods that compromise gut health.

Equally important as what you consume, is what you choose to avoid. Ditch any foods you are allergic to – gluten, dairy, soy and corn are common allergens – as well as sugar, alcohol, processed foods and meats, refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils and unfermented dairy.

 

Visit The Digest for more beauty and wellbeing inspiration.

 

Coconut, raspberry & pistachio cleanse balls

The Beauty Chef - Coconut, raspberry and pistachio cleanse balls

 

MAKES 12

These zesty bliss balls are the tastiest mid-morning or afternoon snack. With punchy lime and antioxidant-rich raspberries, it’ll be hard to stop at one…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup (45g) pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder
  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup (80mL) canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup (60g) coconut butter, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (80g) fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
  • 1/3 cup (25g) desiccated coconut, for coating

METHOD

  1. Place the coconut, pistachios, CLEANSE powder and lime zest in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add the coconut milk, coconut butter, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until mixture begins to bind together. Add the raspberries and stir to combine.
  3. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and roll into balls.
  4. Place the coconut in a shallow bowl. Add the balls in batches and toss to coat. Place on a tray and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Visit The Digest for more recipe ideas and wellness inspiration.

Get gutsy with Carla | My 3-Step Inner Beauty Solution

The Beauty Chef - Get Gusty with Carla: My 3-Step Inner Beauty Solution

 

My philosophy has always been that ‘beauty begins in the belly’ – that glowing skin is basically a reflection of healthy cells and a healthy, robust, diverse microbiome.

 

And it’s this philosophy that truly informs everything we do at The Beauty Chef. This is why I also ensure that every new product we develop is designed to work synergistically with the whole range, so no matter your skin or wellbeing concern, you can mix and match the products to best suit your needs and create your personalised ‘3-Step Inner Beauty Solution’.

 

Although I use all of The Beauty Chef products at various times during my week, my go-to 3-step routine includes – GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost and SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder.

 

Every morning, I enjoy a teaspoon of GLOW stirred through filtered water with a splash of COLLAGEN and this combination helps to keep my belly happy and my skin glowing from the inside, out. I often describe GLOW as my inner beauty moisturiser, an essential daily beauty blend – with 24 Certified Organic, bio-fermented and probiotic superfoods which work synergistically together to feed your microbiome, promote healthy, radiant skin and support collagen synthesis. I add COLLAGEN to supercharge the benefits of GLOW and help promote firmer, plumper skin. It’s my inner beauty serum and tastes delicious, too.

Just like GLOW and COLLAGEN form part of my morning ritual, SLEEP has become an integral part of my evening routine and I absolutely love enjoying a warm mug of coconut or almond milk with SLEEP before bed. This deliciously spiced blend is like my inner beauty night treatment and is packed with gut-nourishing, skin-loving ingredients like bio-fermented turmeric and papaya – to help fight inflammation and boost antioxidant activity – as well as natural sedatives, lemon balm and passionflower which are traditionally used in Western herbal medicine for sleep.

 

Not sure which products are right for you? Take our quiz and discover your 3-Step Inner Beauty Solution.

Coconut crepes with rose yoghurt & strawberries

The Beauty Chef - Coconut Crepes with Rose Yoghurt


Breakfast should always be celebrated and these coconut crepes are pure comfort. With a subtle hint of rosewater and COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost to promote skin radiance, this breakfast will nourish you inside and out.

SERVES 2

Ingredients


Coconut Crepes

  • ¼ cup (30g) coconut flour
  • ¼ cup (30g) arrowroot
  • 3 free-range organic eggs
  • ¾ cup (180ml) almond milk
  • Ghee or extra-virgin coconut, for greasing

 

Rose Yoghurt

 

Method

  1. To prepare the crêpes, whisk together the coconut flour and arrowroot in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and almond milk until well combined. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking continuously to form a smooth batter. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow coconut flour to rehydrate.
  2. To prepare the rose yoghurt, whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat a 20cm non-stick or cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip some kitchen paper into ghee or coconut oil and rub over the hot pan to lightly grease.
  4. Pour ¼ cup (60ml) of the batter into the centre of the pan and swirl to coat it in an even layer. Cook the crêpe for 30–60 seconds, until the surface dries out and the underside is lacy and golden. Flip and cook for another 20 seconds, or until golden. Transfer to a plate, cover to keep it warm and set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
  5. To serve, arrange strawberry slices on one quarter of each crepe. Top with a dollop of rose yoghurt. Fold in half, then quarters. Place on a large, or individual serving plates. Serve sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

The crêpes can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Looking for more recipe inspiration? Download our FREE Belly Beautiful e-Book, filled with snack and smoothie recipes for inner and outer beauty.

Why topical treatments aren’t the answer to your skin woes

The Beauty Chef - Why topical treatments aren't the answer to your skin woes

 

By Ashley Cameron


Do you have dry, dull or congested skin? Perhaps you’re battling with fine lines, sun damaged or stressed skin?

For many of us suffering from skin issues, we turn our attention to the multi-billion dollar global beauty and cosmetics industry for answers. In fact,  according to research, skincare accounts for the largest portion of the market and this means that as consumers, we spend a large fortune on topical solutions for skin issues that may be better addressed by turning inwards.

At The Beauty Chef, our philosophy is that ‘beauty begins in the belly’ – meaning that for healthy, glowing skin, we must first nourish ourselves on the inside, before turning our attention to topical solutions.

So, what’s the best way to reset your gut and enjoy radiant skin?

REDUCE INFLAMMATION

Inflammation is an immune response and is our body’s primary way of protecting itself, so in terms of our gut, it makes sense then that if we eat foods that irritate or inflame the gut – that over time, this can cause systemic inflammation and contribute to a number of health and skin issues.

SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and leaky gut – where the delicate intestinal lining becomes more permeable than normal, allowing endotoxins to escape into the bloodstream – are just a couple of examples of how inflammation in the gut can contribute to skin issues. Research shows, in fact, that people with acne are also more likely to show signs of SIBO and if your leaky gut is induced by stress, it can also be the cause of your acne.

While there are a myriad of foods that can be helpful in terms of combating gut inflammation (outlined below), there are also a number of food groups which are important to steer clear of if you’re looking to heal your gut for glowing skin. Gluten, dairy, corn and soy are all common allergens which, in some people, can disrupt microbial balance, increase inflammation and exacerbate symptoms of leaky gut.

LOOK AT YOUR PLATE

While avoiding irritating or inflammatory foods is important, including a diversity of anti-inflammatory and gut-friendly foods can also be helpful. Opt for antioxidant-rich colourful fruits and vegetables which help to reduce inflammation and mop up free radicals – compounds which cause damage to cells and can contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin (hello, premature ageing!). Colourful fruits and vegetables are also rich in polyphenols. These plant compounds can help to nourish and reset the microbiome – improving metabolism. Some studies also suggest that polyphenols may help to encourage the proliferation of good bacteria – such as Lactobacillus – in the gut.

 

Easy to digest gut-friendly foods such as soups, stews and broths are also a great way to help soothe your digestive system and promote glowing skin from within. As these foods are already partially broken down, nutrients are more easily assimilated into the body while foods like bone broth, for example, also contain amino acids like glycine and L-glutamine – which strengthen the mucosal lining of the gut – and proline – which supports collagen production. Equally important however, is to ensure that we are consuming an abundance of fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Dietary fibre helps to promote microbial diversity and consuming fibre-rich foods also helps to produce short-chain fatty acids – compounds which are anti-inflammatory and help to improve the integrity of the gut lining.

 

Adding fermented foods to your diet is another great way to support skin health as they are a good source of digestive enzymes – which help to aid digestion, improving the bioavailability of nutrients – and naturally rich in probiotic bacteria which promotes microbial diversity, for a healthy, robust microbiome and radiant skin from within. Good sources include kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and The Beauty Chef inner beauty products.

ASSESS YOUR LIFESTYLE

However, it’s not only important to consider the food we eat when trying to reduce inflammation and promote glowing skin. Modern living can also contribute to gut and skin inflammation as every day we have to deal with environmental toxins and stress – both of which disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut and damage its delicate lining. While it is difficult to completely avoid environmental chemicals and toxins, we can choose organic and natural beauty and cleaning products to limit our exposure and embrace self-care practices such as yoga and meditation to help reduce stress.

 

For more beauty and wellness inspiration, visit The Digest.