Recipe for Success: The Beauty Chef
Australian brand founder Carla Oates shares her tips on how to rustle up a healthy gutRead more
Gut health is forever becoming a larger part of the wellbeing – and beauty – conversation. And for good reason: recent scientific studies sing the gut’s praises, proving its intrinsic link to factors like sleep, immunity, mental wellness and even skin health. Simplifying the gut’s dietary demands with her wholefood supplement brand, The Beauty Chef herself, Carla Oates, shares her gems of wisdom and first-hand findings, revealing that it’s all about balance…
ON HER BACKGROUND…
As a child I suffered from eczema and allergies, and my mum took me to see a naturopath who dramatically changed what I ate, removing processed foods as well as trigger foods – such as gluten and dairy – from my diet. My allergies and eczema subsided, so I experienced the power of food as medicine first-hand – how what we eat can profoundly affect our skin and health.
When my daughter began to suffer the same symptoms as me, I examined the link between the gut and skin in more detail. I decided to put my family on a gut-healing protocol, which included eliminating certain foods from our diet while introducing lacto-fermented wholefoods teeming with beneficial bacteria – and I quickly became the local supplier for these fermented foods, offering them to neighbours, friends and family.
ON GUT HEALTH…
I often describe the gut as the gatekeeper to our overall health and immunity. It’s where we make and digest nutrients, where we make our neurotransmitters, where we regulate detoxifying enzymes and hormones and neutralise pathogens – all of which, if out of balance, can profoundly affect our skin, general health and the way we look and feel.
“We have more DNA from bacterial cells than from human cells – our gut is a big part of who we are.”
70 percent of our immune system resides in our gut. It is accountable for producing many of the compounds that help to support our immune health – and its ability to do this effectively rests on the diversity of bacteria that live within our gut. The concept of microbial diversity is very important, especially in terms of our immunity, as we must foster the species and strains of bacteria that promote a healthy immune system and keep our microbiome in balance.
ON THE MICROBIOME…
The gut microbiome is the mini-ecosystem home to the trillions of microorganisms that populate our digestive tract. While one of the main roles of the microbiome is to process the food we eat, the influence it can have on our health extends far beyond the gut wall.
“The process of digestion and absorption is incredibly complex but probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes are integral and help to reduce gut inflammation.”
ON GUT-FRIENDLY FOODS…
For a balanced, healthy gut, it’s important to promote microbial diversity by enjoying a varied diet of wholefoods and an array of nutrients.
Fermented foods: Rich in probiotic bacteria and a great way to feed the gut with beneficial microbes. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso and tempeh are all delicious examples of fermented foods – as are The Beauty Chef products, of course! They also aid digestion, help combat inflammation and restore immune function.
Fibre: When it comes to promoting microbial diversity, fibre – above all else – has the most profound impact. Found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, fibre helps to feed the beneficial microbes in the gut.
Polyphenols: Found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds – including carrots, capsicum, sweet potato, spinach, rosemary, onions, berries, pomegranate and garlic – these antioxidant compounds help to protect and improve gut barrier function.
Healing foods: To heal your gut, it’s essential to load up your plate with healing and gentle nourishing foods. Slow-cooked stews, bone broth (rich in gut-healing amino acids), nourishing soups, and foods that contain digestive-boosting enzymes such as bitter greens (rocket and dandelion), and sour foods (like citrus and apple cider vinegar) are all gut-friendly options.
”Getting enough sleep, avoiding toxins in your environment and reducing stress are all important – as research shows that if you’re stressed, it’s likely your microbiome is too.”
ON PREBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS…
Probiotics are the live bacteria that we can consume either through food or supplements, which help to support and nourish our microbiome.
Prebiotics are just as important and are essentially “food” for the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Most often, they take the form of non-digestible plant fibres (such as inulin in artichokes and pectin in apple skins), which help to promote the growth and proliferation of probiotic bacteria in the gut. A stock-standard probiotic may only contain a few strains of good bacteria – whereas GLOW Inner Beauty Essential™ contains a broad spectrum of probiotics proven to boost gut health, combat inflammation in the skin and help protect against the effects of sun-damaged skin.
It’s not only the foods we choose to consume that can influence our gut health, but also what we choose to eliminate. It will be beneficial to reduce or avoid consumption of sugar, gluten, alcohol, dairy, refined carbohydrates and processed foods – factors that often compromise gut health.
Our gut is like a garden. When healthy and balanced (eubiosis), it is full of a diverse range of bacteria that live in symbiosis with the plants that grow within its soil. But when there is an imbalance (dysbiosis) we can experience ailments that run the gamut from bloating, fatigue and reflux to headaches, mental health disorders, allergies, and autoimmune and skin conditions.