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Beauty from within

Date Posted:23 March 2023 

The old saying, “you are what you eat” is only partially true. A more accurate statement would be, “you are what you absorb”. Even the cleanest diet can be undone with poor gut health.  


In today’s world, there is a lot of pressure to look great. Whether it be from social media or the people around you, we are constantly bombarded with images of what “beauty” is supposed to look like. We are so used to seeing this perfect image that when we see something different, it can be very jarring and lead us to question our own beauty. This can especially be true for women who struggle with acne or other skin issues. But what if there was another way? What if there was a way that you could feel beautiful and confident without needing any external validation?

You can! And it starts with your gut health. Your gut is where all of your immune system functions and processes take place - that’s where the magic happens! It's also where most of your microbiota lives (microorganisms living in our bodies), which are responsible for everything from digestion to immunity and more. If these functions aren't running smoothly, then they won't be able to support your overall health as well as they should be able to do so - and that includes things like maintaining good skin!



What are the signs of poor gut heath, digestion and absorption? 

A healthy digestive system should produce a bowel movement twice, sometimes three times daily (after every meal, as the sensation of a full stomach triggers the peristaltic movements that cause a bowel motion). Most people tend to sit around the one per day, or even less, which means they are suffering from some degree of constipation. When waste isn’t cleared in a timely manner, it sits in the colon longer than it should, and toxins can be reabsorbed and circulated throughout the body. 

Your bowel movement ideally should have a smooth surface, like a sausage, and be easy to pass with no straining. A stool that has cracks on the surface or resembles rabbit droppings is a sign of constipation. Likewise, a watery, loose stool indicates a faster transit time, which does not allow enough time for nutrient absorption through the small intestine. Other signs that you need to take some extra steps to promote good gut heath include excessive or smelly wind, burping or reflux after eating, and alternating colours and constituency in your stool.  A balanced diet along with gut health supplements is the best way to maintain a healthy gut and digestive tract. 


What are the effects of a compromised digestive system? 

Digestion is something that most of us take for granted. We eat what we want, when we want, and don't think much about how our bodies are processing it all - until we start to experience digestive issues.

If left untreated, poor digestion and gut health can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which in itself can lead to array of different conditions. In particular, poor gut health is strongly associated with auto immune diseases, mental health conditions, increased weight and obesity (yes, unbalanced micro flora can actually affect fat gain), food intolerances and skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea), just to name a few.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of a compromised digestive system:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Bloating/flatulence
  • Constipation/diarrhea/gas
  • Abdominal pain/cramping



Why gut health is so important

Gut health is the foundation of good health, and it's something that you should be paying attention to if you want to live a long, healthy life. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that help digest food, absorb nutrients, and regulate your immune system. The gut also produces neurotransmitters like serotonin that are necessary for mood balance.

When the gut is functioning properly, it can help prevent obesity and diabetes, as well as inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A healthy gut also improves brain function by increasing the production of omega 3 fatty acids in the brain.

But when your gut isn't working as well as it should be, you're setting yourself up for chronic disease later on down the line - and potentially even earlier than that. A leaky gut allows toxins from your diet to enter your bloodstream undigested, which can cause inflammation throughout the body and lead to serious autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.


How to optimise your digestive health 

  1. Water! Drink at least 1-2 litres each day, and make sure you drink 2 big glasses when you wake up in the morning. Additionally, hot lemon water in the morning is wonderful for both your digestion and cleaning out your liver. 
  1. Fibre – You need to be eating vegetables/fruit with every single meal. E.g. Berries with breakfast, salad with lunch, veggies with dinner. On top of this, you need the husk from whole grains (e.g. brown rice) to bulk and soften the stool. If you are eating low carb, make sure you take a daily fibre supplements along with plenty of water. 
  1. Digestive enzymes – these break down your food into small enough particles to be absorbed. Things that increase your digestive secretions are apple cider vinegar, lemon water, bitter foods and bitter herbs. For a very compromised digestive system, or for older people, a digestive enzyme supplement can be very beneficial. 
  1. Microflora – this refers to the balance of good bacteria in your gut. Gut health supplements can help to correct this balance, but daily use of fermented herbs and foods will help long term with creating a healthy microbiome. These include sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, tempeh, kefir, natural yoghurt. If you are pressed for time, you can always add probiotic powder to your daily routine. Whatever you do, make sure that you are buying organic (or as natural as possible) probiotics without GMO, colours, flavours, fillers and preservatives. For more information on this topic see our earlier post  on probiotics.
  1. And lastly, you need to chew and eat slowly. Digestion begins in the mouth with the first digestive enzymes secreted by saliva. Take time to chew your food so it is soft and slushy before swallowing and try not to eat on the fly or when you are feeling stressed, as this state of being diminishes digestive function. 



Best gut health foods

Fibre is essential for keeping your digestion regular and healthy. It helps with healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also helps prevent haemorrhoids and diverticulosis, which are both serious problems that can cause extreme pain or even death if they're not treated.

It is also important to eat raw or lightly steamed vegetables instead of cooked vegetables whenever possible. Raw foods provide many more benefits than cooked ones do, including antioxidants that help fight inflammation in the body and give your immune system a boost!

Here are some foods to incorporate into your diet:

1. Coconut yogurt - Yogurt is a probiotic food that helps to balance the bacteria in your gut by adding good bacteria to your system. It's also high in calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. 

2. Vegan kefir - Another fermented product that's great for helping you maintain good gut health is kefir, which contains live cultures and has a lot of vitamin B12. Adding more probiotic rich foods like these will help prevent infections and keep your digestive system strong.

3. Apple cider vinegar - Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has been shown to have positive effects on overall health when taken regularly as part of a balanced diet. It's also great for reducing inflammation and balancing pH levels in the body - making it an excellent choice if you're looking for ways to boost your overall wellness! Apple cider vinegar with mother is a great way to start your day. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, and it's also good for your skin.



Choosing a probiotic for you 

When it comes to probiotics, the first thing that comes to mind is yogurt. But there's a whole world of probiotic products out there, and they can be used for a variety of things. Here are some of the most common ways people use probiotics:

  1. As part of a weight loss program (probiotics can help you feel full faster and stay fuller longer)
  2. To help their digestive system recover from illness or antibiotics (this is the most common use)
  3. To boost immune function (probiotics have been shown in studies to support your immune system)
  4. To treat gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis (there are some studies showing this benefit)
  5. To treat yeast infections such as oral thrush or vaginal yeast infections (some types of probiotics may be helpful in treating these conditions)

Here are some things to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement:

Are you sensitive to dairy? Some probiotics contain dairy products like milk or yogurt. If this is an issue for you, make sure to check the label before purchasing any product. Lactose free probiotics are the best option for people who are lactose intolerant because they contain no dairy and have been specifically designed to break down into simple sugars that can be digested by your body. All probiotics sold at Sassy Organics are vegan and therefore diary free.

Do you have specific health needs? If so, make sure the product has been tested and proven effective in helping with those conditions. For example, if you have a compromised immune system due to illness or medication, look for a supplement that specifically targets boosting immunity and fighting off infections.

Many people with fructose intolerance cannot tolerate any amount of fructose, even small amounts that are naturally found in fruits. If you have fructose intolerance, you may experience symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea after consuming foods or drinks that contain fructose. If you have fructose intolerance, it is important to avoid foods and beverages that contain fructose and in that case you need to choose a fructose free probiotic.



Sassy Organics' probiotic recommendation

Nuferm probiotic for women is designed to meet the nutritional needs of women which includes foods high in iodine as iodine is known to support the thyroid and the thyroid is known to support hormones.

If you prefer probiotic capsules, then Imuni Specialised Probiotics+ are for you. This formula is designed for immunity, respiratory tract infections as well as IBS and stress relief. Containing lemon balm to relieve symptoms of mild anxiety and stress, as well as digestive discomfort, indigestion, abdominal cramping, bloating and distension.

The last option for those wanting a probiotic that’s all natural is apple cider vinegar gummies. Apple cider vinegar has long been used for its gut healing properties and abilities. The Frank Simple Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are so delicious and flavoured with berries.  


Final thoughts

So there you have it. Gut health is the key to your overall health, and improving your gut health can improve or even eliminate many of the problems that plague us today. If you want to avoid disease, feel better, and live longer, improving your gut health should be one of your top priorities.