The Gut is a major player in our overall health and wellbeing. The state of our gut affects not only our immunity and mood but also our skin. Skin is a great barometer of what’s going on internally and when it comes to conditions such as eczema, a topical cream can work wonders and provide amazing relief; however, it simply can’t address the root cause.
Since the introduction of lifesaving antibiotics in the 1940’s it’s thought that the microbiome being passed down from generation to generation is generally becoming less optimal. Add to that: caesarean births, a huge increase in chemical exposure and a move away from a wholefood, high fibre diet and our bacterial friends just aren’t happy. It’s all about balance and an overgrowth and/or lack of diversity is going to cause us problems.
But never fear, there are lots of things we can do to help.
5 Ways to Improve Gut Health:
- Increase soluble and insoluble fibre intake e.g.: vegetables, nuts & seeds.
- Eliminate sugar – sugar causes an overgrowth of ‘carbohydrate loving’ bacteria. which will perpetuate cravings and create a perfect environment for candida.
- Eliminate/greatly reduce junk and processed foods.
- Eat mindfully – digestion isn’t simply about swallowing your food. For proper absorption of your nutrients you need to encourage your child to sit down and chew properly. Do you see those long living Mediterranean’s rushing their meals? These habits can last a life-time so encouraging family meal times with no distractions is one of the best health practices you can pass on to your family.
2. Limit antibiotic use
- Antibiotics are like a ‘scorched earth’ policy for your microbiome. A good deal of your immunity comes from your gut so is it any wonder we keep getting sick after several rounds of antibiotics? SB (saccharomyces boulardii) are a good idea to support a round of antibiotics (if absolutely necessary), followed by several months of probiotics.
3. Get out into nature
- Pat a dog, climb a tree, do some gardening and leave the hand sanitiser at home. Wash hands thoroughly in soap and warm water to remove germs but don’t kill off everything with anti-bacterial chemicals. Also, don’t forget to open your window and let fresh air into your home.
4. Prebiotics and Probiotics
- Prebiotics – non-digestible food sources that fed beneficial bacteria e.g.: garlic, leeks, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, leafy greens, flaxseeds, kiwi fruit, apple cider vinegar.
- Probiotics – natural pot-set yogurt (no added fruit or sugar), fermented foods such as kombucha, traditionally made sauerkraut (not with sugar and preservatives), miso, lassi, kefir, natto and kimchi. Please note; fermented foods are excellent for gut health but high in histamine and not right for everyone with eczema. If buying a course of probiotic capsules or powder you should look for a high quality brand with broadspectrum species. Also check the excipients (lower quality probiotics may have fillers and additives).
5. Filter your water
- Tap water is treated with chlorine and this can negatively affect our microbiome. The last thing you want to happen after paying good money for probiotics is to kill them with chlorine. Ensure you filter your drinking water.
Food sensitivities and allergies are key instigators in skin conditions such as eczema. An elimination diet to challenge foods such as wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts and high histamine food (e.g.: strawberries, tomatoes) is highly recommended. All artificial colours and preservatives should also be removed from the diet.
Sonia Savage is a Clinical Nutritionist based in Paddington, Australia. She is a true believer in a holistic, preventative approach to wellness and breaks this down into very achievable steps. Sonia’s passion is to share her knowledge with other families and to help them live a healthy nourished life through private consults, workshops, education and more.
Find Sonia here: