There are over 3000 kinds of skin disorder, from acne to wrinkles. In Chinese medicine, the lungs correspond to the skin, and the large intestine is paired with the lungs, in a yin/yang relationship. Inflammation of the large intestine will most likely lead to a manifestation in the complexion. Understanding this relationship, we can focus on changing our diet in order to clear up any skin issues that we might have - for me it's always the first stop. Keeping a healthy internal environment will therefore be mirrored in the condition of my skin, whether it be itchiness in the extremities or blotchiness or pustules on the face. Maintaining balanced gut flora will also help problem skin issues like dryness or oiliness. Here are a few ways to nip these issues in the bud by keeping the G.I. in top condition and looking our best, even when we don't feel it.
Want to put this to the test? Take a photo of your face and follow the suggestions below. Take a picture 30 days later in the same lighting, and I bet you'll notice a big difference and you'll feel a LOT better.
1) Probiotics and fermented foods.
Sauerkraut and kimchee can be our best friends. They stimulate microorganisms that lead to better mental health and clarity, and can undo a lot of the damage caused by sugar and processed foods. If you crave sugar you might have candida albicans, so getting the gut flora back into balance is a key element of reestablishing control over skin health. If you take a probiotic, take it before bed with an 8oz glass of water, then it has the whole night to take effect without interruption by food intake. Make sure your probiotic is enteric coated so that it can actually reach the large intestine.
We can't emphasize enough how important this is. By upping our clean water intake alone, we can improve our skin quality. The biggest problem is keeping track. Carry a designated water bottle and fill it up as many times as is necessary to reach your daily required intake (men should be aiming for 3.5 - 4 liters per day, and women 2.5 - 3 liters.) Check your urine, as this is the best indicator of dehydration. It should be clear - if it's dark and smelly you're dehydrated.
3. Organic fruits and vegetables.
These help to both hydrate and cleanse us. Good bowel movements are a must for great skin. The large intestine can play host to many nasty things, so keeping it clean with healthy fiber is an important part of skincare.
4. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and break down collagen, leading to fine lines. For smoother, better-hydrated skin, eat vitamin C–rich foods daily. Examples of these are leafy greens (kale), guavas, yellow bell peppes, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, peas and papaya. The best bang for your buck will be moringa, a seed that grows in the tropics. It has many beneficial functions but most importantly contains high amounts of vitamin C that our bodies can absorb.
5. Sugar and processed foods.
Obvious? Take a look in your pantry and see exactly how much junk has snuck under the radar. Toss it. Don't think about it, just toss it. Use xylitol for sweetening, or other sweet foods like dates or unprocessed organic honey. If you crave sugar, clear up your candida and just gradually wean yourself off it. Your skin will thank you, and people will see a huge difference.
Meat contributes to oily skin, unwanted facial hair and intestinal blockage. It is getting more and more difficult to find healthy meat, as animals are treated with antibiotics and fed corn, which is generally a very bad idea. Corn affects the hypothalamus of pigs, and causes them to blow up to giant size to the point where a six month-old pig will reach the same size as a three year-old. It's fat becomes toxic to it and that's what we end up eating. We're not saying become vegan or vegetarian, but why not? At least cut down the meat and make sure your meat is grass fed and humanely cared for.
What kind of dairy should we eat? Yoghurt. And that's a maybe. Most yogurt that we buy is full of sugar (see #5) and doesn't make it past the stomach, so the probiotic effect is lost. It is best to avoid dairy and only eat it occasionally. Kefir and yogurt are easy to make at home and if store bought, at least make sure you purchase plain and organic. Overall, modern dairy is not good for us, and it's not good for the animals producing milk.