Winter certainly changes the landscape, even down to the landscape of our skin. Cold weather, biting winds, and dry heat from furnaces can leave skin lacking its usual luster. Don’t write irritated skin off as just another chilling reality of winter, with the proper nutrition you can have skin as healthy and soft as a summer breez, regardless of the weather.
For many of us, winter skin can be more than just red rosy cheeks but also dryness of the hands, face, and feet. Winter skin issues can range from the moderate tight, dry, flakey feeling to more severe symptoms like cracking and splitting of skin or eczema – where the skin actually becomes inflamed. It’s not just the chilly weather that has this drying effect, but also the heaters we have on indoors, regardless of what type of heat you have. Thankfully, there are some simple nutrition tips that can combat old man winter’s attack on skin:
1. Eliminate Allergens
Many reactions to a food allergy or intolerance aren’t only digestive – but can also show up on your skin. If you’re suffering with severe skin conditions or eczema, it may be helpful to eliminate common food allergens like gluten, wheat, dairy, and soy for a while to see if symptoms improve.
While it may seem obvious to start with water, proper hydration is the first place to start breathing some life back into dry skin. Although the general recommendation for water intake is about 32 ounces a day, this amount varies from person to person – especially if you are active. The best way to determine your hydration status is to look at your urine: clear or light yellow means you are getting enough water, dark yellow means you are lacking. If you find you don’t want cold water when it’s cold out keep it room temperature or sip on herbal tea throughout the day.
An essential fatty acid deficiency is a common cause of dry skin, so be sure to get a daily dose through chia, flax, hemp, or pumpkin seeds.
4. Opt for Some Orange, Yellow, and Green
Stock up veggies like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, kale, and spinach for their rich vitamin A content. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that helps protect skin from free radicals in addition to playing a role in the synthesis of new skin cells.
5. Broccoli to Bananas
A deficiency in vitamin B6 can show through dry skin and cracked corners of the mouth, as B6 is needed to keep skin healthy. This bold B vitamin can be found in foods like avocado, banana, broccoli, bok choy, sweet potato, and grapes.
6. Nuts for Niacin
Nuts provide a good source of niacin- especially pine nuts, macadamia, and almonds. A niacin deficiency can contribute to eczema, or itchy, dry, red skin. Niacin can also be found in crimini and shiitake mushrooms as well as asparagus.
Once again, citrus fruits provide a serious source of skin assisting vitamin C which is found in skin cells and also provides skin protecting antioxidants. Add a few of these foods to your daily diet: Lemons, oranges, kiwi, papaya, broccoli, and bell peppers.