What is the link between your gut and good skin health?
Skin health starts in your gut and our blog post today is all about probiotics. These are the good guys that live in our intestines preventing the bad guys from taking hold and making us sick. So they keep our digestive system healthy and have a big function to play in our immune system. They also break down our food releasing vitamins and minerals and in return they get a nice cosy place to stay. Its hard to imagine but there are over 2kg of these guys living inside us.
Research over the last few years is showing that these different bacteria and fungi play even more varied and greater roles than previously thought influencing directly or indirectly all of our metabolic functions. So the balance and composition of these bacteria living in our gut directly impacts our health and therefore the health of our skin.
One of the simplest ways of encouraging a good microbiome (all of the microbes that live in our gut) is to eat plain or natural yoghurt. Check the labels – the wider range of bacterial species included the better. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one species you may have come across before but there are many other beneficial ones. Natural yoghurt is much better than the sweetened fruit versions as it contains less sugar and more live bacteria.
Or you could make your own! There are many different ways to make your own yoghurt but here is one simple recipe. All you need is a thermos flask, milk, your seed yoghurt (go for natural!) and/or probiotic powder from a capsule or sachet.
(1) Boil 500ml of milk for 30secs stirring constantly (if you want it thicker add some skimmed milk powder to the milk first)
(2) Cool to 46 to 60°C
(3) Add a teaspoon of natural yoghurt which delivers the probiotics into your yoghurt helping to culture it or empty a capsule/half a sachet of probiotics to the milk.
(4) Transfer the mixture to a very clean flask and leave for 9 to 15 hours until the desired firmness is achieved.
(5) Chill in the fridge and enjoy. This yoghurt can act as your seed yoghurt for your next batch.
If you are going dairy-free you can play around with this recipe with other milks. Make sure you check the ingredients in your probiotics as a lot of them contain milk (as some of the bacterial strains have been extracted from milk)
Different bacterial species are thought to play a role in aiding different skin health issues so keep this in mind if you do decide to make your own and try to source a probiotic that contains that particular species to suit your needs. For example, there is one probiotic strain – Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG that is recognised for its beneficial effects in eczema. Of course you can take a probiotic supplement but why not double up your chances of inoculating your gut with these fantastic flora by eating your own homemade yoghurt with fruit, nuts and seeds!
The pic above is my latest attempt at making my own yoghurt. This recipe is for a coconut milk yoghurt and is courtesy of Susan Jane White (Coconut Yoghurt Recipe). Yummy!
Enjoy and let us know your tips for good gut health