For healthy skin, it is important to understand the relation between the gut and the skin. Read this snippet from our conversation with  Rakhee Jain Arora, founder of Zen Tiger and nutrition consultant.

Within: What is the meaning of the gut?
Rakhee: Gut is your digestive tract- mouth to anus.

Within: Why is healthy gut important?
Rakhee: Gut is where all the microorganisms reside that help us in day to day activities. Health issues concerning the gut are in the intestine or the esophagus. There is a major connection between gut and mind. The gut, brain, and skin axis are interrelated.
A healthy gut helps us do many things. Immunity is affected by what is put in the gut. It also affects our mental health.
Probiotics- found in curd, fermented food, or supplements- and postbiotics are the bacteria in the gut that metabolize foods to form certain chemicals important for general health.
Postbiotics are created only if we feed ourselves well with fiber and antioxidants.
Foods rich in fiber, like legumes, pulses, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of prebiotics.

Within: what is the difference between Kombucha and Yakult?
Rakhee: Fermented food is beneficial as it adds to the gut bacteria. Kombucha has pre and postbiotics beneficial to our health. Yakult is mainly prebiotics.

Within: What is the difference between Kombucha and apple cider vinegar?
Rakhee- They are similar in profile. Both have antioxidants but apple cider vinegar just has other benefits. Apple cider vinegar is best with food. But Kombucha has some acids that are not available in apple cider vinegar.

Within: How does the gut affect the skin?
Rakhee: We are still at a nascent stage to comment on this but there are some clear links that the gut, brain, and skin are connected. The skin has some beneficial bacteria as well as non-beneficial bacteria and it is the non-beneficial bacteria that creates issues with skin.
So, inflammation in the gut can have an effect on the skin. If the gut functions well, cell renewal will happen smoothly, which has anti-aging effects.

Within: Can we say that skin issues are because of gut health or vice versa?
Rakhee: We don’t know which came first but dermatitis and acne manifest because of gut conditions. Escebo, which is a small intestine infection, is caused by eating inflammatory foods and can cause dermatitis. Unhealthy diets high in sugar can cause acne
Psoriasis- if you don’t have good gut health and excess of bad bacteria or if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it could have skin manifestations.

Within: Cosmetics or maintaining gut health? Which works better?
Rakhee: Some conditions can be taken care of internally. Cosmetics are also advanced. A combination of both is always useful.
Nuts, seeds, and vegetables are good antioxidants as well so making sure 30g fiber intake and cosmetics together ensures good skin. Target thirty variety of different sources of fiber in a week because variety is important.

Audience question: Does gut health and hair have a connection?
Rakhee: Gut health and hair have a correlation, not a direct connection- if you don’t absorb nutrients, this can weaken the hair.

Within: What is more beneficial- 15 billion bacteria of one type or 15 diff strains?
Rakhee: For general health, different strains are important. But it has to be individualized and depends from person to person based on their needs. It is well researched that lactobacillus is good for everyone but it has to be decided from person to person so check with a professional before you decide for yourself.

With this informative input on the gut skin connection, Rakhee signed off leaving us better aware of how our guts work and how to take care of ourselves.