I can’t count the number of times my clients, followers and friends ask me what skin-care products I used to get rid of acne. Although I do use facial oils and masks made with safe ingredients to maintain radiant skin, the real healer was and still is nutrition.
The gut and the skin are directly connected! After all, the lining of the intestines is also a type of skin that requires the same nutrients as our external skin such as Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin D, etc.
We often forget the skin is the body’s largest organ, and like any other organ, it requires vitamins and minerals from the foods we consumed. Poor nutrition will have a huge impact on the health and beauty of the skin. This doesn’t mean that everyone who has a poor diet will develop acne. We are uniquely made, so our symptoms will differ. Some will get rashes, flaky/dry skin, dandruff, and depigmentation, among other reactions.
(Check out these 7 Important Skin-Healing Nutrients Missing From Your Diet.)
During my health journey there were three foods that were key components to cure my skin permanently. These are very easy to supplement with or add to your meals, it is just a matter of being open-minded a willing to treat yourself the way you deserve. If you’d like to learn about how I healed my skin and digestive system, I invite you to read my book “Healthy Gut Happy You,” available on Amazon as soft-cover or a digital version. Without further ado, here are the three C’s for beautiful skin:
Cod Liver Oil:
Acne sufferers are often prescribed Accutane, a synthetic form of Vitamin A, which can lead to depression, liver damage, suicidal thoughts, hormonal imbalance and so on. Fortunately, cod liver oil provides enough vitamin A to help heal the skin without dangerous side effects. It is also a great source of healthy fats and has perfect ratios of omega 3 and omega 6. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, and deficiencies can lead to skin allergies, acne, eczema and other skin disorders.
There are plenty of options for cod liver oil supplements in the market. I’m sure that if you go to your health food store, you’ll find dozens of brands claiming to be purest form of this sacred food. For over 7 years, I have been supplementing with fermented cod liver oil.
What’s the difference between regular cod liver and fermented cod liver?
Fermented cod liver has its nutrients readily available for the body to absorb and utilize. The brand I use and recommend is Green Pastures because it isn’t mixed with fish oil or any other additives. If you decide to try it, I would recommend getting the capsules. They won’t leave you with fishy breath. They also have it in gel or liquid form, but they may scare your taste buds a bit.
Collagen is necessary for healthy skin, bones, muscles, hair, nails and intestines. When the health of the gut is compromised, it can lead to mineral and vitamin deficiencies, depriving the skin from the essential nutrients it needs in order to thrive.
Almost 90% of nutrient absorption happens in the small intestine. When the permeability of the intestinal wall is compromised it develops into leaky gut. This allows opportunistic pathogens to attack the immune system and start feeding from the nutrients that were initially meant to feed the organs in the body, including the skin.
Collagen is found in bones and tendons and when these are cooked, collagen is converted into gelatin. I’m sure that nobody is excited to chew raw bones and tendons, that’s why we boil them until a rich and silky liquid forms. Making bone stocks is extremely easy, to see the recipe click here.
You can use bone stocks to make soups or as a substitute in any recipe that calls for water. I also like to drink it like tea: I warm up a cup of bone stock, season it with lemon and a pinch of sea salt. It is delicious!
Cultured foods are a type of transient probiotic, which purify our bodies and help make important nutrients in the gut, after which the majority of them are passed in our stool. They are not our high colonizers. That’s why it is so important to continue replenishing the gut with this healthy bacteria by making fermented and cultured foods an essential part of your daily nutrition.
In order to stay acne-free and maintain a healthy digestive system, I include these fermented foods in my daily nutrition:
Kombucha: It is a fermented tea containing billions of probiotics to help bring the gut-flora back to balance. If this is your first time trying kombucha, then you can start with 1/4 a cup and monitor how you feel. You can increase to 1/2 cup within the following few days and continue monitoring your reaction. Kombucha can be bought at most health and regular food stores. My favorite brand is GT’s, and some of their popular flavors are lemonade, trilogy, multi-tree and gingerade, which I love for their low sugar content (only 2 grams per serving). Kombucha is also really easy to make at home – it is as simple as making tea! You can create your own flavors and save a lot of cha-ching! Click here to see how practical and affordable is to prepare homemade kombucha.
Raw kefir: This is one of my favorite sources of probiotics. Kefir is a yogurt-like drink with a taste similar to Greek yogurt. The beauty of this superfood is that 1 tbsp alone has at least 60 strains and 150 billion bacteria. During the fermentation process, the bacteria feeds from the natural occurring sugar in milk, making kefir virtually lactose-free. Like any other fermented food, make sure to introduce in small amounts and listen to your gut, literally. You can drink kefir pure, or, if the taste is too sour, I highly recommend you try making this Happy Belly Parfait. (Warning! It will probably become your favorite breakfast and/or snack).
Like kombucha, you can make kefir at home by using kefir grains or buy it at your local farmers market. The problem with the majority of the kefir brands sold at grocery stores is they are pasteurized and loaded with sugars. Pasteurization kills the healthy bacteria and enzymes naturally present in raw kefir because they have low resistance to high temperatures. The brand I trust and that has provided me with lots of benefits is Organic Pastures. If you live in California, you can more than likely find it at Sprouts Farmers Market.
Fermented vegetables: You can ferment pretty much any vegetable or fruit. Most cultured foods only require filtered water and sea salt. Some of my favorite cultured vegetables are sauerkraut and kimchi. You really don’t need a large amount, a couple of tablespoons with your meals will provide you with plenty of benefits.
Lack of optimal bacterial balance in the gut can lead to bacteria and yeast overgrowth such as Candida – very common in acne sufferers. When the wrong kind of bacteria starts to dominate the environment, this will lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency. The body will have a hard time eliminating toxins through feces and they will be vectored to our back-up organ of elimination – the skin.
Start including these three C’s in your nutrition and let your skin be as radiant as you are!