Meet Your Take Away 101 Guide For Ageing, Gut Wellbeing and Healthier Skin – Sami Bloom.
In a world where we’re constantly confronted and challenged by external pressures to look good, we miss the importance that wellbeing and beauty really do start from how we treat ourselves from within, from our mindset to what we eat to forming a better relationship with self. A beginning of a new journey for Skin Health Emporium, they launched The Mindfulness Beauty Event – An event around inspiration and knowledge around looking after our internal world first and foremost. Hosted and presented by an empowering panel of health and beauty experts where they spoke about all things skin, food, gut health, and psychology.
We were absolutely privileged to share Sami Bloom’s knowledge with our community about the link between maintaining skin health and gut health. Those of you that didn’t make it to The Mindfulness Beauty Event, Sami is a clinical nutritionist, yoga teacher, accredited member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society & the creative mind behind Health & Bloom.
Her own health complications prompted her to make positive life changes, revitalising her health & leading to a drastic career change from corporate law to Nutritional Medicine. Sami specialises in plant-based nutrition, drawing upon both science & holistic principles to treat each individual case in a way that is effective, sustainable & enjoyable. Her philosophy is deeply rooted in whole food, plant-based nutrition & using food as the wonderful medicine that it is.
A Nutritional Medicine Perspective Around The Link Between Skin & Gut Health
● Skin is often a good reflection of what is going on internally, especially when it comes to gut health.
● It is not simply “you are what you eat”, rather “you are what you absorb” . The primary role of the gut is to utilise the nutrients from your food that your body needs.
● When the body doesn’t receive enough nutrients, it sends the few it can use to vital organs – heart, brain, liver – & our skin, hair & nails get pushed aside.
● We want food to be absorbed as quickly as possible to ensure that it doesn’t sit in the gut & ferment, which can then cause unpleasant gas, bloating & microflora imbalance.
Phases of Digestion
● Food preparation: sight/smell – The moment you see or smell your food our bodies stimulate the release of digestive enzymes, stomach acid & bile to help break down food.
● Weak enzymes, acid & bile place a greater burden on our organs to assimilate larger chunks of food, & may contribute to bloating, bacterial overgrowth, parasites & leaky gut syndrome.
● Amidst stress, real or perceived, adrenaline is produced. The presence of adrenalin diverts the blood away from digestion & concentrates it to the arms & legs → ‘fight or flight’.
● Chewing: should be done 12-20 times per mouthful! Arousing the sense of taste can also encourage stronger digestive “juices”. This specifically activates amylase, a digestive enzyme specific to carbohydrates present in the mouth, helps digest approx 50% of the carbs in the meal.
● This is your only chance at “mechanically” breaking down your food. There are no little teeth down the walls of our digestive tract.
● Swallow → stomach: physical distention activates receptors to initiate stomach acid. We want this to be very acidic! The stomach breaks the food down into a substance called “chyme”.
● Reflux is mostly due to stomach acid not being acidic enough. Your stomach brings your food up because it is having difficulty breaking it down.
● Liver – bile helps digest fats & some vitamins. The nutrients get distributed into the bloodstream.
● A lack of digestive enzymes can reduce the amount of fat & protein that you absorb, & leave your skin feeling dry &dull – which can be the cause behind many skin conditions including eczema & psoriasis.
● Colon – 3–4kg of bacteria living here! The goal is to have more good than bad bacteria. Beneficial bacteria breakdown fiber & synthesize certain vitamins, amino acids & release short-chain fatty acids.
● Water from food is absorbed here, to help with easy bowel formation. Constipation can place an extra toxin load on your body due to reabsorption. Reabsorbed substances may be excreted through the skin.
The Effects of Aging
● Excess production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) & reduced antioxidant activity contributes to the appearance of aging.
● Not only does ROS production increase with age, but our skin cells’ ability to repair DNA damage steadily decreases.
● The skin becomes thinner & drier, the development of wrinkles & uneven pigmentation more common, &wound-healing processes delayed.
● Causes of oxidative damage: gut infections, dysbiosis, over-consumption of rancid fats, overaccumulation of iron, blood sugar instability, toxin exposure, UV radiation, chronic stress.
● Eat a high-fiber, colourful plant-based diet centered on vegetables, fruits & legumes. Include small regular servings of wholefood fats such as nuts & avocado with each meal. Choose lower glycemic load foods. Favourite skin foods incl: Acai, pineapple, cabbage, sweet potato, seaweed, almonds, brazil nuts, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, avocado, lemon.
● Limit refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, dairy, processed foods, alcohol & caffeine.
● Address food allergies & intolerances.
● If consuming animal-based products, including fish, eggs & dairy, these are to be a “side dish” to the plant-based main& never charred/smoked. Really try for at least 2 vegan days/week or even 1 meal a day!
● Take time to see, smell & prepare your food. If buying food, really take it all in before scoffing it down.
● Eat in a calm environment, away from stressors & distractions. Chew each mouthful 12-20 times. Place knife & fork down between bites. Set a 20 min alarm for eating!
● Drink 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar in water 10-20 mins prior to main meals (or just one main).
● Consume bitter foods (think rocket, endive, radicchio, watercress, dandelion, kale).
● Drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning.
● Do not drink water with your meals, drink at least 30 mins before or after.
● Sip ginger tea and/or dandelion tea throughout the day.
● Eat fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics e.g. kim-chi or take a quality strand-specific supplement with meals.
● Adequate hydration. Try a pinch of mineral-rich sea salt in your water bottle for better cellular uptake.
● Supplementation that might help to depend on your condition (always only as prescribed specifically for you under a qualified health practitioner): probiotics, vitamins C & E, Algae oil (omega 3), zinc, COQ10, Selenium.
Health & Bloom is a consulting practice & holistic online space encouraging you to make conscious informed decisions with your best interests in mind. Sami believes good health is all-encompassing – food, mindset, movement, relationships – & wants to showcase not only how rewarding a healthy lifestyle is but also how achievable, enjoyable & seamless it can be.