We’ve all looked in the mirror before and thought the reflection looking back could be better.

And it’s not always about vanity.

Maybe your skin looks dull or your eyes have a tinge of yellow? And what about your breath, how does it smell?

Your body may be giving you signs about where your health is at?


“The tongue is an extension of the gut and its appearance can be altered based on an individual’s nutrient status and gut health, ” says Melissa Hohaia, naturopath at Perth Natural Medical Clinic.

Next time you brush your teeth, take some time to examine your tongue.

Ms Hohaia says some things to look out for include a patterned coating (or geographical tongue), which can be sign of food intolerances or iron or B vitamin deficiencies, a very red tongue may indicate under-nutrition or deficiencies of iron or B vitamins, and a quivering tongue may indicate the need for extra magnesium.

Ms Hohaia says some signs such as white rough patches, raised areas or swelling can be signs of something more serious, such as auto-immune disorders or sleep apnoea.


“They say that eyes are the windows to your soul but I believe eyes are the windows to your general state of health and wellbeing, ” naturopath Amanda Hobley says.

Ms Hobley says people should not self-diagnose — she advises to go to a professional if you notice anything unusual — and any abnormalities, such as blood-shot eyes, should always be referred to a doctor for investigation.

Ms Hobley says iridology (the study of the iris or the coloured part of your eye), is a wonderful starting point to identify imbalances within the body.

“The tissue integrity is indicated by the colour, markings and location of iris signs, ” she says. “The colours range from white to darker than the normal pigmentation of the iris and may indicate the different degrees of underactivity or overactivity of the organs, tissues or body systems.”

Ms Hobley says some imbalances the iris can potentially reveal include nerve tension, irritation and stress, lymphatic congestion and a toxic or slow-moving bowel.


If your breath is unpleasant (and you cannot attribute it to smoking or eating onion or garlic), it may be an indication of health issues.

Ms Hohaia says breath can change with tooth decay or gum disease. Breath may also become unpleasant due to a sore throat, overgrowth of candida or heartburn/acid reflux.

“A sweet smelly ‘ketosis’ breath can be a sign of diabetes, ” she adds.


Skin-care specialist Marian Rubock says the skin is connected and reflective of the health and balance of your hormonal, excretory and nervous system so may reflect nutritional status, hormones and your nervous system.

“Your skin is a good indicator of health because when your body is stressed and under siege it is less likely to lay down collagen and elastin in the same way to build and repair on a day-to-day basis as well as during injury, ” she explains.

“The skin then may deteriorate, be affected by premature ageing, be slow to heal or feel itchy and uncomfortable.”

Ms Rubock says skin complaints that are often indications of other health issues include psoriasis and eczema (which may be the results of vitamin D deficiency); and poor healing (which can be the result of low zinc and iron). Rashes of unknown origin may result from an imbalance in stress hormones.

While it’s helpful to keep an eye out for any changes in your body, it’s important not to self-diagnose or unnecessarily worry, so visit your general practitioner if you notice anything unusual.

For the kids

“Very commonly, children will show signs of red spots over the surface of the tongue (referred to as ‘strawberry spots’), which may indicate the need for a specific form of calcium, which is required during times of accelerated growth.”— Melissa Hohaia, naturopath at Perth Natural Medical Clinic.

Thyroid trouble

Dry skin and hair and brittle nails can be the result of poor or low thyroid function, Marian Rubock says.


© The West Australian

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