The winter months can truly play havoc with our skin. Cooler temperatures, harsh winds and heated air conditioning can all strip the skin of its natural moisture, leaving us with dull, flaky or dry complexions. While we can try to combat these effects through the use of facial moisturisers, the foods we are eating are just as important as our skincare routine when it comes to maintaining a supple, radiant glow throughout the winter - good nutrition is essential.
Our skin cells require a variety of nutrients in order to flourish and regenerate. When we consume foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and amino acids it is reflected in our faces. From boosting the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin, to protecting against UV damage and retaining our natural oils, the inside-out effects of a balanced diet on our skin cannot be underestimated. So what foods should we be consuming in winter?
1. Oily Fish
A portion of salmon, mackerel or trout is an excellent source of lean protein and contains essential omega 3 fatty acids - perfect for those who suffer from dry skin in colder weather. If your diet is lacking in healthy fats, skin cells are less able to retain moisture and therefore lose their plumpness, resulting in dry, itchy skin. Try to incorporate a serving of oily fish three times per week.
Tomatoes are high in lycopene - an antioxidant which fights free radicals. Lycopene can help reduce sun damage by increasing our skin’s natural SPF, and is best absorbed when tomatoes are cooked (the heat releases antioxidant from the plant cells) and served alongside good fats like olive oil or avocado.
This tasty winter vegetable is filled with alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes which increase skin cell turnover, leaving your skin looking brighter and smoother. It also contains Vitamins A and C which help to boost collagen production and reduce the effects of ageing.
4. Edamame Beans
Not only are edamame beans packed with protein, fibre and antioxidants, they contain plenty of Vitamin A which helps to keep skin feeling soft and smooth and acts as an excellent immunity booster during winter.
5. Kiwi Fruit
A single kiwi fruit contains almost all of your daily Vitamin C requirements- even more so than an orange. Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis which helps the skin to retain its tautness and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
6. Chia Seeds
The ancient Aztecs were well aware of the benefits of chia seeds long before they became a contemporary health-food staple. One serving of chia seeds contains more calcium than milk, helping to increase skin cell turnover and assist with moisture retention. They also contain plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, which lead to a glowing complexion.
Perfect for a hearty winter breakfast, oats contain both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are great for those with eczema or sensitive skin. Oatmeal can also be used as a face mask or bath soak due to its gentle emulsifying and cleaning properties.
8. Pink Grapefruit
Pink grapefruit is filled with antioxidants which help to fight free radicals. This reduces the impact of wrinkles, discolouration and dullness. Like oats, pink grapefruit is also highly beneficial when applied directly to the skin, helping to manage oil control and reduce dullness.
9. Almond Milk
For those who are prone to acne, eczema or regular breakouts, try switching from dairy milk to almond or soy milk. Dairy can often aggravate acne, rashes and wrinkles due to its inflammatory nature. Unsweetened almond milk is high in Vitamin E, which helps to reduce the impact of sun damage on the skin.
10. Olive Oil
Consuming just one tablespoon of olive oil per day can be highly beneficial for the skin as it is filled with anti-ageing antioxidants which help to reduce the impact of UV and sun damage. Drizzle it over toast and tomato in the morning or use it to dress a leafy salad.
By nourishing yourself with plenty of good fats, protein and vitamins on the inside, you’ll soon be able to see the effects on the outside, with radiant, healthy looking skin all winter long.