Protecting Your Skin From Harsh Winter Weather
It’s that time of year again - it seems winter is here, and here to stay. As much as we've been fighting it, there's no denying the inner excitement for wrapping up warm, woolly jumpers, hot baths and winter walks, but winter also brings with it the joys of dry skin, chapped lips and weak hair. The combination of cold winds, increased use of central heating and lower humidity levels cause havoc – often stripping your skin of its natural moisture.
But how do you combat this? As always, and unsurprisingly, it comes back to your diet, so we've put together a list of the best ingredients for keeping skin and hair healthy and full of moisture. Our skin is our largest organ after all, so it's important that we feed it from the inside, rather than relying on skincare products for radiant, glowing skin!
Recent studies have shown that the consumption of avocado alongside foods with high levels of beta-carotene (eg. sweet potato/carrots/oranges...), will increase our bodies ability to absorb the the beta-carotene from those foods as well as the rate of conversion from to vitamin A in the body. Why is this useful? Both beta-carotene and vitamin A are great for protecting our skin from becoming dry and damaged, particularly handy in the colder months. Avocado is also crammed full of vitamins E and C - great for nourishing the skin and keeping it glowing. So basically you have an excuse to eat avocado with sweet potato all winter long - you're welcome.
Salmon, preferably wild, and other types of oily fish are a brilliant source of omega-3 fatty acids - polyunsaturated fats that are essential for useful bodily functions such as reinforcing healthy cell membranes, strengthening the skin against external and internal threats. Foods high in omega-3 also have anti-inflammatory properties, essential when the skin is reacting to the winter conditions and constant change in temperature.
Other types of fish high in Omega-3 (and great for a high-protein breakfast): mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies.
Pomegranate provides so much more than just a splash of colour to your meal - they are incredibly rich in antioxidants (remember those things we talked about last week?), responsible for preventing free radical damage, and therefore protecting and nourishing the skin. They're also a fantastic source of vitamin C, which can boost immunity and resistance to harsh environments. What's best, pomegranates are in season at the moment and through the colder months so make the most of their availability!
EAT THE RAINBOW
With so many beautiful, vibrant vegetables in season currently, we really should, as the saying goes, 'eat the rainbow'. Incorporating a rainbow of vegetables into your meals not only makes them look fantastic, but they also provide a myriad of health benefits. Colourful veggies such as chard, red cabbage, carrots and butternut squash are full of antioxidants, primarily beta-carotene which helps keep your immune system strong and boosts collagen production. Increasing your intake of these vegetables helps to support both your immune system and skin to cope with cold weather, not to mention their seasonality throughout winter.
STAY HYDRATED - HERBAL INFUSIONS
Drinking warming herbal teas and infusions is an easy way to ensure that your water intake is maintained throughout the winter, especially when drinking cold water seems much less appealing. And each herbal infusion comes with it's own list of health benefits for both your body and skin:
Dandelion - immune boosting
Peppermint - good for dry, dull skin
Ginger - soothes inflammation
Chamomile - anti-inflammatory and very soothing
Nettle - rich in both vitamins and minerals and helps calm allergy symptoms