How many times have you heard that beauty is skin deep? Well, that’s not entirely true. While topical products and practices have an impact on your overall skin health and appearance, what you consume internally has a much larger effect on sustainable beauty and youth.
During each change in season our bodies and skin’s needs also change. You might notice in the winter your skin gets drier than normal or in the summer your skin tends to look oilier. To keep your skin looking and feeling its best, you should be supplying your skin with the right nutrients for optimal health. Filling your diet with the right foods for each season keeps you looking and feeling your best all year around.
I like to think that many people don’t understand the impact of our diets on our skin, I mean why else would they still be eating junk? My naive thought and I have decided to create a miniseries with the intention to educate others of all the beautifying foods you should be eating specifically for each season. As I am currently experiencing winter on my side of the world I will start there.
The winter months bring harsh, cold winds that irritate our skin as well as dry conditions that strip the skin of its natural moisture leading to uneven skin texture, excess dead skin and clogged pores that cause acne. Here is a list of a few of my favorite beautifying winter foods.
Avocado – keeps skin cells strong and hydrated
Avocado is all the rage right now and rightly so, it is one of the healthiest sources of fats in nature. High amounts of the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, maintains moisture in the skin. They are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids that protect against free radicals and environmental damage while keeping skin cells strong and hydrated. Avocados contain vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant, as well as B vitamins like niacin which assist in the natural detoxification process of the liver and DNA repair. B vitamins also reduce redness and inflammation in the skin that often times show up in the form of acne. Eat avocados in moderation (about half a day) to reap the benefits. Add them to smoothies, dips, sandwiches and everything else you can think of!
Banana – protects against free radicals
Bananas are most commonly known for their potassium content which keeps nutrients and oxygen circulation along with hydrating and moisturizing dehydrated skin. Additionally, they provide amino acids that boost healthy hair and nail growth while protecting the body from free radicals that so rudely speed up aging. They also contain silicon which is essential for strong hair, nails, and skin elasticity. Bananas contain a lectin that destroys bacteria that causes acne while they also feed good bacteria in the gut which is essential for digestion and overall health. If all that isn’t enough they are also a complex carb that increases serotonin production for a much-appreciated mood lift during those dark winter days. The riper the banana the more antioxidants, so for those of you who refuse to eat bananas with a spec of brown on them let this be your motivation. I let them ripen then peel and freeze them to be added to my morning smoothie.
Brussel sprouts – detox excess estrogen
Brussel sprouts are naturally detoxifying veggies that contain cancer-fighting glucosinolates, many of which break down into sulforaphane (a phytochemical that reduces inflammation, protects cells from DNA damage, speeds up the body’s production of antiaging glutathione and reduces redness caused by UV exposure.) They contain iodol-3-carbinol, a photochemical that eliminate excess estrogen keeping hormones in balance and reducing hormonal breakouts along the chin and jawline. One cup of Brussels sprouts contains over 100% of your daily vitamin C requirements to keep collagen production working efficiently. That cup also contains all the vitamin K you need for healthy blood vessels and bones to regulate levels of inflammation.
Cacao – blocks formation of wrinkles
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate, meaning it is raw and much less processed than cocoa or chocolate bars. It is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium in the world. These antioxidants block harmful free radicals in the body and protect the body from diseases and premature aging. It has a raw enzyme which helps to repair and rejuvenate skin cells. Additionally, cacao aids in protecting the skin from UV damage and boosting the overall hydrations of your skin. it increases circulation in the skin keeping it healthy and glowing while reducing redness. You can get 100% cacao in a powder or nibs to add to smoothies or recipes. This will also help to mask the bitter taste. Alternatively, you can buy dairy free dark chocolate with a 70% or more of cacao to reap the benefits.
Carrot – healthy hair, skin and nails
Carrots are great for keeping the skin, hair, nails, and eyes beautiful. They contain beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes natural cell division, regeneration collagen and regulates oil production. Carotenoids, the plant pigments responsible for the carrots bright orange hue, have been said to lower the risk of breast cancer in women. They are also a natural source of biotin which promotes hair and nail growth as well as blood sugar regulation.
Ginger – calms inflammation
Inflammation is a huge cause of aging and permanent skin damage. Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory that reduces skin redness, improves digestion and soothes aches. It also contains the phytochemical gingerol which has the potential to suppress activation of aging cell mechanisms. Ginger contains around forty antioxidant properties that prevent free radical damage and protect against aging.
Kale – promotes smooth skin and healthy blood vessels
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. It contains vitamin A which works as a skin smoother and vitamin C which helps to strengthen and build collagen. In addition to vitamin K for healthy blood vessels, kale is full of calcium, potassium, and iron. It supports detoxification in the liver, which is vital in keeping the skin clear. It reduces inflammation caused by stress that can lead to chronic illness and disease and of course show up on the face as age spots and wrinkles.
Kiwi – protects against free-radical damage
Kiwi contains the highest amount of vitamin C in the fruit world. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen production and free radical defense as well as wrinkle prevention, and skin rejuvenation. Kiwi also contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme compound that reduces belly fat and improves allergies. Protects DNA from free-radical damage and stores skin-friendly essential fatty acids in its seeds.
Pomegranate – defends against collagen breakdown
Pomegranate contains more antioxidants than blueberries, green tea or red wine, resulting in amazing antiaging anti-wrinkle benefits. They have the phytochemical ellagic acid which prevents aging inflammation in the body and stops damaging chain of events in our cells that breaks down collagen and sets the stage for wrinkles to form. Protect natural levels of nitric oxide chemical that keeps circulatory systems youth by boosting blood flow to organs and cells. The powerful cleanser of lymph and blood for clear radiant skin. I personally prefer to use 100% pomegranate juice verse eating the actual fruit because they can be quite difficult to eat.
Walnuts – protect against harsh winter weather
Walnuts are full of fat, protein, minerals, and antioxidants that protect the skin and hair against the harsh dry winter weather. They are one of the few skin-strengthening omega-3 fatty acids converted from alpha-linolenic acid. The zinc in walnuts works to keep our skin and scalp healthy, while antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals boost circulation of nutrients by providing iron to keep blood oxygenated.
Give these foods a try this winter to keep yourself healthy both inside and out. As overused as the saying may be, you are what you eat so if you are eating garbage you will look and feel like garbage.