Quit speed dialling your facialist for radiant skin – it’s all about what’s going on inside your gut.
And while it doesn’t sound glamorous, sorting out your insides and what you’re putting into your body can have huge benefits for your complexion.
FEMAIL consulted The Beauty Chef, Carla Oates, to find out her top tips for beautifying your gut – and immediately noticing the difference.
From soaking your grains to having a shot of lemon juice before every meal, here is everything you need to know in order to glow from the inside out.
According to Carla, it helps to know the importance of the gut for your overall health:
‘The gut is where 70 per cent of your immune system lies, where we metabolise hormones, where we make nutrients and neurotransmitters, create detoxifying enzymes and neutralise pathogens,’ Carla explained on her blog.
‘All of these processes can profoundly affect us if not in balance or working properly.’
Carla explained that to achieve a healthy gut, you need to ‘support good bacteria in our digestive system’.
To ensure that good bacteria is winning the tug of war over bad bacteria, you need to limit lifestyle factors associated with negative things such as stress, processed food, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and pollution.
Instead, try to de-stress, eat wholefoods and take probiotics, either naturally or via supplements.
Take low HI (or human intervention) foods.
‘You should also eat foods rich in prebiotics,’ she explained.
‘Prebiotics help boost the growth of friendly bacteria. These include non-digestible food substances found in asparagus, bananas, endive, chicory, garlic, globe and jerusalem artichokes, kefir, leeks, onions as well as foods rich in soluble fibre.’
Balance out your prebiotics with ‘probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and yoghurt’ – one needs the other to function so make sure you’re getting a selection of both.
Next, Carla recommends lemon juice as a digestive stimulant:
‘A shot of lemon juice before all meals can be a good aid to digestion,’ Carla said.
You could also try eating ‘smaller meals’ and chewing your food ‘slowly so it liquefies before you swallow’:
‘Saliva contains digestive enzymes that help break down foods,’ The Beauty Chef added.
Next, Carla said you could try to ‘limit acidity’ by eating alkalising foods such as green leafy vegetables.
You should also avoid drinking while you eat as it ‘dilutes digestive enzymes’.
‘Grains provide a great source of fibre to aid detoxification but can be hard for some people to digest and contain anti-nutrients,’ Carla said.
‘If you consume grains, either soak them or ferment them to make them easier to digest.’
When it comes to what to eat for a beautiful gut, it pays to limit gluten, dairy and animal proteins – unless in soups or stews where they are kinder on the gut.
Instead, load up with ‘steamed or sautéed vegetables’ instead of raw and try ‘chlorophyll-rich greens such as celery, alfalfa and sea vegetables as well as fibre-rich foods and green tea’.
Finally, Carla recommends loading up on coconut oil – which contains the all-important lauric acid – and herbs including fennel, chamomile, slippery elm, ginger, peppermint, lemon verbena, lemon balm and dandelion root.
She concluded by saying that, where possible, you should try ‘not to eat when you are angry or stressed as your body’s fight or flight response predominates at those times, meaning digestion is not a priority and is slowed’.
Instead, sit down, eat slowly and digest fully before addressing whether you are full.