There are many foods that can help keep skin healthy during winter time. During winter the cold weather tends to dry out moisture from the skin causing it to flake, crack and even become seriously chapped and damaged. While sensible skin care can help reduce the effects of winter (see 5 must have skin care products) the diet also plays a vital role in keeping the body healthy.
Fortunately there are a few categories of nutrients that can particularly help skin condition. These nutrient categories are essential fats like omega-3 found in fish, vitamin C found in many fruits and vegetables, vitamin E found in nuts and seeds, beta-carotene found in brightly coloured orange foods and wholegrain foods.
These nutrients are all excellent sources of ingredients that will give skin protection, keep it naturally moist and its collagen structures good. Luckily nature has provided many diverse and interesting foods in these basic groups that will help skin.
Fatty fish is a must have year round staple with its essential fats that the body just cannot do without and it is especially important in winter. Fatty fish like smoked salmon is an especially good source of omega-3 that does the body and brain good in many ways, including being important for maintaining healthy skin. Consider tuna, sardines, anchovies and other fatty fish as well as smoked salmon in your winter diet.
Those who suffer from dry skin conditions like eczema are frequently deficient in the essential fats and find that consuming foods rich in omega-3 helps reduce dryness and inflammation. During winter when skin tends to become drier more easily than normal it is vital to keep omega-3 levels high.
Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables
Anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables are also important all year round for good health but especially so in winter. Anti-oxidants like vitamin C are especially useful during winter time helping to reduce inflammation and damage done to the skin by free radicals floating about the body. Vitamin C can be found in foods like citrus fruit – oranges and grapefruit – as well as tomatoes and many vegetables like broccoli and carrots.
Vitamin C is found in many skincare creams because it also aids the production of collagen, a key component of skin that helps keep it thick and non-sagging. Wrinkles can develop and skin sag when collagen is low and so boosting intake with vitamin C is also useful all year round to help prevent sagging skin (see How stuff works).
Vitamin E rich nuts and seeds
Vitamin E is also very useful to consume to help skin condition over the winter. It actually works best when combined with vitamin C since it can be damaged by free radicals and vitamin C can help protect the vitamin E in the body until it is used. Like vitamin C it is an anti-oxidant that helps protect against skin damage done by free radicals. Vitamin E also helps the skin retain moisture and will be beneficial as you battle the drying effects of winter. Eat plenty of nuts and seeds and use certain plant based cooking oils to ensure that you are getting good skin care from vitamin E rich foods.
Fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene
Beta-carotene is an important anti-oxidant that help combat the damage that is done to the body by free-radicals, including the damage that is done to skin making it age faster. As winter takes its toll on the skin it can do with all the help it can get from these anti-oxidants that stimulate fast cell repair. Consume plenty of carrots, yams and apricots to ensure that your beta-carotene supplies are high during winter.
Vitamin B from Wholegrains
Skin will benefit from plenty of whoegrains to keep it healthy. Absolutely avoid refined and processed white breads and opt instead for whole grains. Skip the shelves and shelves of pasta made with refined flours and seek out the wholegrain option instead. Wheat germ gives vitamin B fats, like biotin, which helps prevent the skin becoming dry and scaly (see How Stuff Works).