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  • Writer's pictureMeg Hagar, MS, RD, CDN, CHHP

5 Overlooked Foods You NEED for Skin & Gut Health

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

If you have irritable bowel syndrome AND cystic acne- or "digestive acne"- I'm sure you're totally frustrated and confused trying to figure out which is the root cause and HOW to fix it! (Hint: I've got a free acne quiz you can take to determine if digestive issues are the only thing contributing to your acne)

While you may think these conditions are very different, they are actually likely contributing to one another. The good thing is that they both are made worse by inflammation. This is good news because if we can lower overall systemic inflammation then we can help make our skin and tummies happy!

Below is a list of 5 commonly overlooked foods important for gut and skin health. While these foods aren't the end-all-be-all to a cure and are certainly not right for everyone, they are a great, non-harmful way to start getting to the bottom of your irritable bowel syndrome and cystic pimples.

1. Cabbage

Cabbage contains an amino acid called glutamine. Glutamine has been known for helping to heal the gut lining and certainly shouldn't be skipped if you're looking to ease irritable bowel syndrome (and therefore cystic acne caused by IBS). Another benefit of cabbage is that it's a pretty good course of non-fermentable fiber (making it low-FODMAP and easy on the gut- with the exception of savoy cabbage). 

2. Sesame Seeds

Just 1/4 cup of these little seeds provide about one quarter of the daily recommended amount of zinc (if following a 2,000 calorie diet). Zinc is vital for fighting inflammation because it helps regulate the pro-inflammatory pathway in the bottom, helping to reduce inflammation in its tracks. Sesame seeds are also very high in selenium!

3. Sardines

Sardines tend to take a back seat to their more popular omega-3 cousin, Salmon, but they certainly deserve their own time in the spotlight! Not only does 1 serving provide over half of your daily recommended amount of omega-3s (which we know potent inflammation-fighting healthy fats!), They also provide the majority of your selenium needs in a day, are a great source of protein, provide a good choline boost AND have some of your B vitamins! Not sure how to add sardines into your diet? Try this Spanish Sardines on Toast recipe! (Skip the garlic for a low-FODMAP option and choose whole wheat bread!)

4. Eggs

Eggs provide the super important choline- a building block for neurotransmitters that keep your gut moving (called acetylcholine). Choline is also a building block of membrane structures- such as the ones needed to repair a damaged gut lining. You wouldn't try to build a sturdy brick wall without enough bricks would you? So don't try to heal your gut without all the necessary building blocks! Being a complete protein, eggs also contain glutamine!

5. Tuna

Tuna has over double the recommended amount of a powerful antioxidant called selenium. Selenium is important for helping the body fight "free radicals" from damaging the body. This powerful little antioxidant is also a required component to regulate enzyme's of the body's arguably most robust detox system- Glutathione.

There you have it! Try adding these 5 overlooked foods for gut & skin health into your diet and let me know what you think! 

P.S. Did you take the acne quiz yet? Click here to take the quiz and learn what root causes might be contributing to your acne!

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