Is inflammation making you age faster?

The Beauty Chef Is inflammation making you age faster?

Aging is inevitable. But inflammaging–accelerated aging caused by inflammation–doesn’t have to be.

Coined by researchers in Italy, inflammaging is a term used to describe the kind of chronic, low-grade inflammation that speeds up our rate of cellular aging. The result? Premature aging of our skin and body, accelerating the processes that lead to collagen breakdown, fine lines, wrinkles and lacklustre skin, thinner hair and brittle nails, as well as contributing to age-related diseases like type 2 diabetes and arthritis. 

As we get older, our ability to provide the optimal environment for our gut microbes to produce anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids naturally declines. But many of the effects of inflammaging are preventable with healthy diet and lifestyle choices. While its causes are complex and varied, UV radiation, stress and environmental toxins certainly play a role. Recent studies also suggest alterations to the gut microbiome and impaired intestinal epithelial barrier–leaky gut syndrome–can be a major factor.

As explored in The Beauty Chef Gut Guide, when our gut wall is leaky, endotoxins known as lipopolysaccharides and other compounds such as undigested food particles can pass through the gut lining and into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response and leading to low-grade systemic inflammation. If you suspect you’re suffering from leaky gut, it’s worth consulting a skilled naturopath or integrative doctor. 

In addition, studies have shown that those with a high Frailty Index (a measurement of aging associated with chronic inflammation) have significantly less diversity in their gut microbiome than those with low Frailty Index scores. So while we can’t stop the aging process, with good gut health we may be able to slow down and reduce its negative impacts.

Key to strengthening your gut lining and the health of your microbiome is eating a nutrient-dense, gut-friendly diet. Think: plenty of vegetables and fruits with prebiotic fiber and incorporating the new GUT PRIMER™ Inner Beauty Support–a restorative powder designed to help repair and soothe the gut–into your daily routine. 

Have you experienced inflammaging, and what are you doing to combat its effects?

4 Quick Fixes For Dry Skin

The Beauty Chef 4 quick fixes for dry skin

By Courtenay Turner 

Dullness, dandruff and a tired-looking complexion are just some of the ways that dry skin can dim your glow…

But thankfully, there are a few tried and tested ways of combating dryness that are both natural and effective. Below, our four favourite quick fixes to help banish ultra-parched skin for good. 

Harness the power of probiotics 

Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis often result in debilitating dryness, but studies show that certain species of probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms. The bacteria in our gut can positively impact our skin barrier function and even speed up wound healing, which is great news for those of us with flaky, moisture-depleted skin. Case in point: our probiotic-rich Skin Renewal Kit featuring GLOW Inner Beauty Essential™—in a consumer trial, 95% of participants using GLOW saw improvements in pre-existing skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and congestion after 30 days.  

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate

While it might sound a little counterintuitive, using a natural chemical exfoliant—as opposed to a physical one—is one of the best ways to cultivate smooth, supple skin. Our Probiotic Skin Refiner is rich in naturally-occurring lactic acid (a mild alpha hydroxy acid), which gently dissolves dead skin cells to reveal a clear, fresh complexion. Lactic acid is also a natural humectant, meaning that it helps to maintain the skin’s natural lipid balance, promoting optimum moisture levels. Even better, preliminary studies show that topical use of probiotics (i.e. applying them to the skin’s surface) may help to reduce eczema. 

Eat healthy fats

Forget about low fat, low calorie diets. If you want beautiful skin that glows from the inside, healthy fats—the unrefined, wholefood sources found in nature—are essential. Think: fresh nuts and seeds, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocado, as well as wild-caught oily fish, grass-fed meats and flaxseeds, which are especially rich in omega-3s and the building blocks for healthy cells.

Drink more water

You’ve likely heard this before, but it’s easy to underestimate the amount of water you’re drinking. Aim for around two litres of pure H20 every day to hydrate your cells, plump your skin, brighten eyes and boost your energy. Pro tip: for a daily shot of extra nutritional support, add a delicious dash of HYDRATION Inner Beauty Boost™ to your morning smoothie or water bottle. Containing electrolyte-rich bio-fermented coconut water, aloe vera and lemon myrtle it helps to rehydrate your cells by replenishing minerals and fluids lost during daily activities. 


Do you have a tried and tested way of combating dry skin? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks.

How your gut affects your menstrual cycle symptoms

The Beauty Chef - How your gut affects your menstrual cycle symptoms

Dealing with cramps, bloating and breakouts? Your hardworking gut microbes play a big role in hormonal balance.

For many women, managing PMS means laying low and riding out the general discomfort that signals the arrival of your period. But before you break out the dark chocolate and call it a day, consider this: gut health can have a major impact on your menstrual cycles and sex hormones. 

Recent studies show that an imbalanced gut microbiome (known as dysbiosis) can be directly linked to hormonal imbalances. And conversely, hormonal imbalances such excess amounts of oestrogen can affect our gut, causing bloating, fluid retention and slower digestion. 

THE GUT-HORMONE CONNECTION

Once oestrogen is produced in our ovaries (and in lesser amounts by our fat tissue post-menopause), it circulates via the bloodstream before arriving at the liver. Here, it is inactivated and sent to our digestive tract for elimination, where gut microbiota produce an enzyme called B-glucuronidase that breaks down oestrogen into its active form. That’s why if your microbiome isn’t working efficiently, oestrogen that should be eliminated will be re-circulated, potentially causing a hormone imbalance. 

Along with making us fertile, oestrogen affects our metabolism, skin, weight and fat deposition patterns. Plus it has a protective effect on our bone and heart health. Decreased oestrogen is the reason our risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis increases post-menopause. Similarly, excess levels of oestrogen can cause symptoms commonly associated with PMS such as heavier periods, bloating, mood swings, fluid retention, adrenal fatigue, acne and breast tenderness. 

Too much naturally occurring oestrogen can be made even worse when we introduce xenoestrogens—hormone-mimicking compounds found in everyday items such as plastic, cosmetics and skincare products and non-organic fruits and vegetables. When xenoestrogens build up in our bodies, it can trigger an oestrogen dominance, which some studies have shown to increase our long-term risk of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome and breast cancer.

HEALTHY GUT, HEALTHY HORMONES 

We can promote healthy oestrogen levels by supporting our gut health, liver and elimination pathways. First and foremost, encourage healthy microbial diversity by eating plenty of high fibre vegetables and probiotic, lacto-fermented foods—and don’t forget our new GUT PRIMER™ Inner Beauty Support!

Consider reducing your intake of alcohol, refined sugars, additives, MSG and burnt food as they can contribute to dysbiosis and inflammation. It also helps to avoid environmental toxins and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as those found in many cleaning and personal care products, wherever possible (here’s an article on how to reduce your toxic load at home). Finally, given the negative impact of  high cortisol on the immune system and microbiome, try to manage your stress levels—here are six easy lifestyle tweaks to get you started.

Have any questions for us about the link between hormone health and gut health? Let us know in the comments below.

Sweet Potato Chips with Lime Cream

Sweet Potato Chips with Lime Cream

SERVES 4

Sweet potato chips are moreish and the lime cream in this recipe takes them to another level of deliciousness. While I try to stay mostly dairy free when on a gut cleanse, a small amount of goat’s or sheep’s yoghurt gives lots of nourishment without the tummy compromise. This is because goat’s and sheep’s milk have smaller fat globules than cow’s milk, and a higher proportion of medium-chain fatty acids, making them easier to digest. While coriander offers anti-fungal properties, you can swap it for rosemary if you like, to give this recipe an Italian twist and to reap some added anti-inflammatory benefits.

INGREDIENTS:

Sweet Potato Chips:
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1 teaspoon sea salt
900 g (2 lb, 2 large) sweet potatoes, skin left on, scrubbed & cut into 1 cm (1⁄2 in) thick ‘chips’ extra-virgin coconut oil, warmed, for drizzling
30 g (1 oz/1⁄3 cup) flaked almonds, lightly toasted 1⁄4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 large handful coriander (cilantro) stems & leaves, coarsely chopped

Lime Cream:
180 g (61⁄2 oz/3/4 cup) sheep’s, goat’s or coconut yoghurt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
zest of 1 unwaxed lime
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice sea salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas Mark 6) and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the arrowroot and salt. Add the sweet potato chips in batches and toss to coat. Shake off any excess and arrange the chips in a single layer across the two trays. Drizzle with coconut oil and bake for 20–25 minutes, turning once, until tender, crisp and golden.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the lime cream by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Serve the sweet potato chips scattered with flaked almonds, chilli flakes and coriander, with the lime cream on the side.

Low-FODMAP option:
Swap the sweet potato for carrots. Cook for an extra 10 minutes, or until tender. Reduce the sheep’s or goat’s yoghurt to 125 g (41⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) or swap for coconut yoghurt. Carrots are a good source of the prebiotic “arabinogalactan”, shown to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids that help the body fight inflammation.

For more gut-nourishing recipe ideas, check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide – available now.