Crisp winter weather can zap the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dry and dull. Lotions can help moisturize skin from the outside, but dry skin also needs to be moisturized and nourished from the inside by eating the best foods for healthy skin.
“Yes, it is possible to eat one`s way to good skin! We just need to hydrate our skin by consuming plenty of liquids and eat the right foods,” says senior nutritionist Aparna Tandon.
Continuously hydrating with water and fresh juices is very important for healthy skin and your whole body. “One can have orange juice, guava juice and coconut water which not only tastes good but are rich in vitamins too. Most fruit juices are good for the skin, but they should be in natural form, not packaged.”
“A lot of vegetables are available in winter; so vegetable juices can be made using spinach or beetroot, among others,” says Tandon. “Tomatoes are also good for the skin and help keep the skin moist and glowing.”
Tandon says snacking on foods for healthy skin is also important. “Snacking is a good thing if one has the right snacks. You can have salmon which has Omega3 fatty acids. Vegetarians can have flax seeds and nuts like almonds (and walnuts), which are the best because they have vitamin E and protein which are good for the skin`s elasticity,” she says.
Other snack foods for healthy skin include fresh fruits and vegetables that are packed with vitamins, fiber and powerful antioxidants, which fight free radical damage to your skin and throughout your body.
Vitamin C is a natural friend to skin. It is essential for making collagen, the protein fibers that give skin its strength and resiliency. And since it’s a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C also disarms free radicals that would otherwise damage and weaken collagen. See the list below for some of the best food sources of vitamin C.
Best Foods for Healthy Skin During Winter
Include these foods for healthy skin in your winter diet, and you’ll enjoy more youthful, vibrant skin all winter long:
Water: Hydrating your body with water is the best thing you can do to have great-looking skin. The more water you drink, the more you will flush all of the toxins and bad stuff out of your body and the healthier your skin will look.
Green tea: Drinking green tea or taking a green tea extract has many health benefits including supporting healthy skin. You can drink it cold or hot, but avoid adding sugar or milk for the best benefits to your skin.
Fruits and vegetables: To stay smooth and healthy, your skin needs a whole bunch of antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables that are also packed with important vitamins and fiber. Some of the best fruits and vegetables for your skin include:
- Cantaloupe, berries and plums: These fruits and vegetables are packed with powerful antioxidants which fight off free radical damage and support healthy skin.
- Tomatoes: Eating a little tomato paste every day may give you protection against wrinkles and skin ailments. In one small study, people supplemented their regular diet with 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste mixed with a couple teaspoons of olive oil every day for 10 weeks. A control group just ate the daily olive oil along with their regular diet. The participants also sat under a sun lamp at the beginning, middle, and end of the study just long enough to lightly sunburn their shoulders. By week 10, the tomato-paste group showed 40% less sun damage than the olive oil control group. Tomatoes are one of the best sources of lycopene, and scientists speculate that this antioxidant may help to block some of the skin-damaging effects from the sun. Of course, no food can replace the need to use sunscreen, and you still need to be smart about limiting your time in the sun.
- Sweet potatoes: The beta carotene in sweet potatoes helps balance pH and encourages skin cell turnover—both of which combat rough, scaly skin and help make skin smoother and softer. Beta carotene may also protect against UV damage, but you have to eat your sweet potato mash, not apply it to your skin. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, which is a known skin-friendly nutrient that helps combat aging and dryness.
- Broccoli, spinach, and carrots: These vegetables contain vitamin A, which increases the turnover of skin cells so your skin will renew more quickly with the freshest new skin cells at the surface of your skin.
- Grapefruit, oranges, papaya, Brussels sprouts, and peas: These foods are rich in vitamin C which is great for your skin because it wards off or reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles associated with dry skin and aging.
Low-fat dairy: Dairy products are also a terrific source of vitamin A. However, make sure you consume the low-fat versions of milk, cheeses and ice creams for the best results.
Omega3-rich fish: Omega3s are essential fatty acids—the “good fats”—that are essential for your health. Omega3s help reduce inflammation in skin cells. In a 5-year Australian study, people who ate a serving of tuna, salmon, or sardines at least once every 5 days were almost 30% less likely to develop age spots, compared with people who ate little or no fish. The types of fish that are rich in Omega3s are salmon, tuna, shellfish and sardines. These fish also are great sources of vitamins D and A, two skin-friendly nutrients that are known for their age-fighting properties.
Flax seeds and walnuts: These are also great sources of essential fatty acids. In a vitamin C study, researchers noted that people who eat diets rich in linoleic acid—an essential fatty acid found in walnuts—have more moist and plump skin.
Whole wheat and whole grains: Whole wheat and whole grain products contain Selenium which improves the skin at the cellular level. Whole grain foods also contain magnesium and B vitamins which help to regenerate skin cells. Choose whole wheat and whole grain cereals, breads and baked goods.
Lean red meat: Some people have skin problems because they don’t get enough iron in their diet. If your skin is too pale or you have dark circles under your eyes, you may have an iron deficiency. Red meat is a great source of iron, but make sure to select lean cuts with very little fat.
Eggs: Also rich in iron and protein, eggs are an alternative for people who don’t want to eat red meat.
Dark chocolate: Think chocolate is bad for your skin? Think again. One study found that 6 weeks of taking a daily dose of cocoa made skin smoother, more hydrated, and less sun sensitive, and 12 weeks of daily cocoa was even better. All thanks to the skin-boosting antioxidants in cocoa, called flavonols. But it’s got to be dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa.
Include these foods for healthy skin in your diet whenever possible and you’ll improve the appearance of your skin through the end of the winter season and beyond.
Other Tips for Younger Looking Skin
Here are a few more tips for beautiful, younger looking skin:
- Practice deep breathing to reduce stress because stress is bad for your skin.
- Get more sleep—it’s free and natural cosmetic medicine.
- Reduce your sugar and salt consumption. They are bad for your skin and your waistline.
- Reduce your intake of fats and refined carbs. Scientists found both are linked to aging skin.