Reducing Inflammation for Better Skin & Digestive Health

Dealing with skin, digestive, or immune issues can be really frustrating. You use great skin care and it helps some, but your eczema just won’t clear up all the way. You eat lots of veggies, but you still have bloating, heartburn or IBS type symptoms. You take your supplements, but you still experience aches, fatigue, allergies or other immune/auto-immune reactions.

While doing the things mentioned above is great, and are generally good steps to better health, there is sometimes a missing link. And many times, that link is inflammation.

When you are looking to address an issue like, skin problems, digestion, or immune, it’s important to add things in, but there may be times when you also need to remove things. This is because healing your gut is often one of the biggest steps you can take in the right direction to find healing in your body.

Gut Problems

When there is inflammation in the gut, it can trigger things like skin issues, digestive problems, or autoimmune issues. Inflammation can lead to a leaky gut, which is when the lining of the small intestine becomes permiable. This means that there are micro-tears in the lining that allow undigested food particles to enter the blood stream. Obviously this is not a good thing!

What happens when these food particles are in the blood stream where they are not supposed to be? Well the body sees them for what they are: foreign invaders. As a result, it builds antibodies to these. The end result of this is that eating these foods in the future can trigger immune type reactions. These reactions can show up as skin conditions, digestive problems, or immune/autoimmune reactions.

On top of this, if your gut lining is inflammed from foods that don’t agree with you, you may not be properly absorbing the nutrients you are eating.

Healing the Gut

To address these gut issues, it’s important to first address any food sensitivities and to remove those inflammatory foods. Common inflammatory foods are things like gluten, soy, corn, dairy, and eggs. Additionally, sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause inflammation, as well as promote bacteria and yeast growth in the gut.

One thing you can try is to do an elimination diet. While not always fun to do, elimination diets can help pinpoint the offending food item. In some cases, you will know pretty quickly that a certain food was a problem after eliminating it. Other times, you may not know until you go to add it back in after a few weeks without it. This is how I realized that gluten was not my friend. I never realized how it was making me feel until I removed it for a month and then added it back.

I generally recommend eliminating foods for 4-6 weeks. Then reintroduce foods one at a time, allowing 3-4 days between adding in new foods. Watch for signs of digestive or skin reactions. The thing with skin reactions is that they often don’t show up as quickly as digestive ones. So you may find you need to wait a bit longer between adding foods back in if you are looking at skin issues. I like to recommend the Whole 30 diet as an option for food elimination. It is a paleo template that is rich in whole foods, but eliminates most of these possible food stressors (except eggs, which you can eliminate on your own!). I also like it because there are a wealth of recipes available on Pinterest or elsewhere, which makes it easy to find meals to make.

Once you’ve narrowed down what does NOT work for you, I recommend limiting or removing that item, at least for a few months, to allow your digestive system to heal and rest. You can try re-adding these foods back in later on, but many people find that digestive (or other) symptoms return and that these food items aren’t a great all the time choice for them. That’s how gluten and I are. Most of the time we keep our distance unless it’s a fresh baked, homemade cinnamon roll at Christmas. 😉

If you’ve tried elimination but aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, there could be more going on, or just more in-depth gut healing that needs to happen. If you want to dive deeper into your health issues, feel free to Contact Me or check out the Services I offer in Nutritional Therapy. I can work 1 on 1 with you to figure out what is keeping you from being symptom free and feeling your best.

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