How Probiotics Keep us Beautiful From the Inside Out
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For the past few years, probiotics seem to be everywhere; embraced by wellness and health experts, nutritionists, and beauty fiends alike, these microorganisms play a major role in keeping our bodies healthy, our mood up, and our skin clear. In this post, we delve into the world of probiotics, exploring why they’re so important for our overall health and how we can incorporate them into our diet.
How Probiotics Work
First, a little background. Acting as our body’s gatekeepers, our guts are home to both “good” and “bad” bacteria, also called flora. Probiotics are “good” bacteria; they help prevent harmful flora from taking over and disrupting our internal balance, while strengthening the immune system and keeping the digestive system stable. There are many types of probiotics, each with their own unique properties and benefits. Found naturally in our bodies (lining the digestive tract), probiotics are also present in various foods and can be taken as a supplement.
Healthy Gut, Healthy Skin
Because the bacteria in our gut is directly connected to our immune functioning, it’s also connected to our skin. Here’s how: “Leaky gut,” which, unfortunately, is basically what it sounds like, can result from high stress or a surfeit of unhealthy bacteria forming in the gut. A diet high in processed foods or lacking in fiber is often to blame here, causing a leak through which toxins flow into the bloodstream, resulting in bodily inflammation, which—you guessed it—also affects the skin. This can lead to itchiness, irritation, acne, and excess oil.
A diet rich in probiotics, however, allows healthy bacteria to line the gut, creating a protective barrier that prevents inflammation, resulting in:
- Increased radiance
- Reduced acne and clearer skin
- Improved skin texture and tone
- Reduced rosacea-caused redness
- Strengthened skin barrier, allowing for fewer skin sensitivities and reduced dryness
- Alleviation of eczema
Balanced Gut, Balanced Mood
Our digestive tract is the second largest part of our neurological system. So the way we treat our gut is really the way we treat our mind. Certain types of probiotics, called psychobiotics, produce various kinds of neurotransmitters, like oxytocin (what we feel when we’re falling in love). Just as your brain can affect your gut (think “butterflies” in the stomach or a “gut reaction”), the gut can also affect the brain. Probiotics act as natural mood boosters by:
- Relieving stress
- Increasing energy
- Easing mood disorders
- Easing depression and anxiety
- Improving memory
The Best Probiotic-Rich Foods
Although many probiotic supplements are now available, the best way to reap the rewards of these beneficial bacteria is through delicious foods. One of the most well-known and popular sources of probiotics, yogurt, makes for a quick, healthy midday snack or breakfast. Be sure to look for live-culture, organic yogurt that is free of artificial sweeteners or flavors.
If you need to break out of the yogurt rut, kefir, a blend of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains, is drinkable and delicious. Bonus: it’s also high in antioxidants, which help protect and repair the skin and fight off free radicals that can cause signs of aging.
“It's best to get probiotics through naturally-fermented foods like raw sauerkraut and kombucha, but supplements are a great way to fill in the gaps if you find it challenging to include enough probiotic-rich foods in your diet,” says Lula Brown, a New York-based integrative health and weight loss coach.
Brown recommends incorporating 1-3 tablespoons of naturally fermented vegetables into almost every meal for digestion, mood, and skin benefits. Pickles, miso, kimchi, and tempeh are also packed with beneficial bacteria. And stick to a clean, plant-based diet; too much red meat, wheat, starch, and sugar can disrupt your probiotic balance.
Probiotics reduce acne and help your skin achieve radiance and clarity from the inside. To optimize their effects on the outside reach for our Daily Face Essentials set and reap the rewards of a simple three step ritual that balances the skin for a clear and glowing complexion.