Inflamed, bumpy skin.
Incessant itching. Constant bloody scabs.
Prescription steroid creams that didn’t do anything but leave my skin raw and a few layers thinner. Interminable searching on the Internet for “soothing oatmeal soap” and “natural supplements.”
After six years, the painful and embarrassing eczema on my face just felt normal.
Endless searching for the cure was exhausting. I felt hopeless and was resigned to living life with an oozing red face.
Who was I to question my doctor’s medical degree that insisted there was no cure for eczema?
Turns out you can beat eczema, just like I did. No expensive medications or fancy lotions necessary, just good old-fashioned food. I haven’t had a relapse in the 10 years that I’ve added these foods to my diet.
It’s all in the gut.
The role of the trillions of microbes living in our intestines is becoming increasingly clear as science reveals how they directly communicate to the brain and skin. Referred to as the Gut-Brain-Skin Axis [1-3], this complex communication network between these organs and microbes involves different hormonal and neural pathways that certain beneficial microbes use and subsequently influence our health [4-7].
The gut serves as a delicate barrier between our internal organs and anything we eat or drink, so when our gut becomes “leaky,” it initiates a whole cascade of events eventually causing chronic inflammation. If toxins, large food particles, or harmful microbes pass through a leaky gut into our bloodstream, the immune system activates and attacks anything it doesn’t recognize .
For some people, this inflammation caused by leaky gut means Irritable Bowel Disease. For others, it’s allergies or asthma. But for me, a leaky gut caused my terrible eczema.
Overuse of antibiotics, high stress lifestyles, and poor quality food all contribute to leaky gut.
Our gut is home to trillions of microscopic organisms, including bacteria, yeast, Archaea and viruses, and this ‘microbiome’ is extremely sensitive to stressors. The microbes are responsible for maintaining a healthy line of communication with other organs like the brain and skin but they also keep intestinal walls strong in order to keep any inflammatory particles out of our bloodstream [9-11].
Our microbiome has both ‘bad’ microbes and ‘good’ ones. They exist together, the good guys keeping the bad ones in check. While there’s no question that antibiotics have saved thousands of lives, today they are often overused and prescribed when not needed, unnecessarily killing gut microbes that are essential to intestinal health. Killing off beneficial microbes lets any bad guys that survived the antibiotics overgrow and take over . Additionally, if you eat sugary, processed foods that feed the bad guys, or kill off the good guys with stress and antibiotics, the bad microbes can take over, contributing to a leaky gut [13,14].
We have the power to manipulate our microbiome to heal a leaky gut and beat eczema.
You may have a leaky gut without even realizing it. A leaky gut is implicated in allergies, depression, anxiety, autoimmunity, digestive disorders and so many more illnesses [15-18]. You may have lived for so long with nagging health issues that feeling horrible is normal.
The good news is you don’t have to live this way—you can rejuvenate your health by using healing foods to restore your damaged digestive system.
I added three powerful foods to my diet and after several weeks, the eczema I’d had for years disappeared and never came back. Since then, I’ve taught many people how to easily make these foods and watch their skin inflammation vanish. Giving hope to mothers desperate to heal their children, replacing expensive medications and throwing out the useless lotions is such an amazing experience.
Taking control of your health and mastering your skin problems by healing your gut is possible once you start eating these three foods everyday.
The age-old adage to eat chicken soup when you’re sick is actually great advice. But skip the store bought; it’s full of additives and artificial flavorings, not to mention it’s so much cheaper to make your own from chicken, beef, lamb and fish bones, etc.. Pick one day a week to make a big batch of broth and drink a few cups a day. The restorative broth nourishes the cells of your intestines, allowing them to grow and repair themselves.
Fermentation is a process in which beneficial microbes, called probiotics, eat carbohydrates to produce acids that preserve the vegetables. This is why things like fermented pickles or sauerkraut taste sour. Fermented vegetables are teeming with live organisms that can live in your intestines and directly play a role in the gut-brain-skin axis.
This fermented milk drink is a probiotic powerhouse. It’s beyond easy to make and is packed with different bacteria and yeasts that produce hundreds of unique peptides that have specific anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune regulating effects . Drinking a glass of kefir a day will strengthen your gut, thus directly improving skin health.
These lifestyle changes will revolutionize your health.
These foods have been an important part of my diet for 10 years. Eating them everyday keeps my gut strong and my microbiome thriving. While some may think it’s easier to just pop a pill or smear on some steroid cream, I know my eczema-free body is healthier because the foods I eat address the root cause of the problem: a leaky gut.
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Author: Hayden Smith
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Author’s Own