Cold, dry air can wreak havoc on the body’s largest organ – your skin. There are plenty of moisturizing lotions and creams on the market to help ease the dryness, but did you know that a healthy diet is just as important for keeping our skin healthy and glowing? Just like the rest of our body, our skin is a direct reflection of our what we eat. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-season foods that can help ignite your inner glow and help your skin look its best while temperatures continue to plunge. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards, cruciferous veggies like cabbage and Brussels sprouts, and orange produce like sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkin, ginger, turmeric, and citrus fruits all have the potential to help you get through the winter glowing.
Consider the following guidelines for a healthy complexion this winter:
- Healthy Fats- Deficiencies in healthy fats can contribute to dry skin. Eat plenty of foods like fish, nuts, olive oil, flax, sardines, and avocados that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats are vital for proper cell function and protection, and they are also needed to absorb other important skin vitamins like A, E, and D.
- Hydration– It is easy to forget to drink enough water when it’s cold outside, but water is vital for healthy, plump skin. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. If plain water seems unappetizing, add some flavor with fresh ginger, lemon slices, or mint leaves.
- Vitamin C– This vitamin can help boost the body’s production of collagen, a protein that helps maintain skin’s elasticity and reduces the look of wrinkles. Citrus fruits like clementines or grapefruit, and dark leafy greens are great sources of Vitamin C.
- Vitamin B6– Another important vitamin for collagen production, vitamin B6 is found in bananas, avocado, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. B6 deficiencies can be seen in dry skin and cracked corners of the mouth.
- Vitamin A– Winter squash and sweet potatoes are both rich in vitamin A and carotenoids, which not only promote healthy skin but benefit the heart and immune system as well. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals.
- Limit junk food– Refined sugars can lead to dehydrated skin and breakouts. Try to reduce the amount of processed food in your diet and replace them with healthier, whole-food substitutions.
Our anti-inflammatory meal plan is chock-full of complexion-boosting foods in the form of delicious, simple recipes. Here’s a free trial on us to start enjoying Curried Cauliflower Soup, Beauty Greens Smoothie, and Stuffed Salmon Filets this week. Your skin will say, “Thank you!”
By Michelle Davies, MS Nutrition Candidate, Hunter College, NY
Reviewed and edited by Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RDN