The arrival of cold weather brings many benefits. The holidays approach, putting you in a jolly mood. Insects flee back to the underworld where they belong, saving you from itchy bites.
However, there is a downside to the darker time of the year — your complexion starts to look a bit ashy. What can you do to fight the flakes besides bathe yourself in moisturizer? Here are 10 foods that help control dry skin and keep you glowing from the inside out.
Almonds are among the top plant-based food sources of vitamin E — and your body uses nutrients in food more readily than those from supplements. This substance helps give your skin a healthy suppleness and glow.
You can also use the supplemental version of vitamin E externally. Break open a gel capsule and rub the gooey stuff inside directly on any minor wounds or burns. Doing so may help stave off scarring.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are one of the best cruelty-free sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids perform multiple jobs in your body — including hydrating your skin and keeping your tissues pliable.
Chia seeds are incredibly versatile. You can sprinkle them on nearly anything — even ice cream for a slightly nutty crunch. Add texture to your next nondairy parfait or salad while getting your omega-3s.
3. Fatty Fish
Another source of omega-3 fatty acids comes courtesy of the ocean. All seafood, particularly fatty fish, contains high levels of these vital nutrients in readily bioavailable form. Mackerel and salmon are among the best proteins you can choose to stave off ashy winter skin and benefit your heart.
Experts recommend having fish twice a week to reap the maximum health benefits. Have some salmon and asparagus ready to go in the freezer and heat it in less than 15 minutes for a healthy weekday meal.
This deep, leafy green is a member of the same mustard family as broccoli. Both of these vegetables are fabulous sources of B vitamins to help keep your skin soft and flake-free all winter long.
Another way kale benefits your skin is by regulating your blood sugar. Uncontrolled glucose produces excess free radicals in your body. These can age you by causing cellular damage and death. Kale contains high levels of antioxidants, substances that combat free radical damage, protecting your complexion.
Coconut works inside your body and out to give your skin a natural, healthy glow. The fats in this fruit provide long-lasting energy and give lustre to your complexion, hair and nails.
The oil makes a perfect carrier base for external ointments. The oil makes a perfect carrier base for external ointments. You can use it as a thick shaving cream in the shower since it moisturizes your skin and won’t rinse off the way soap will. Bye-bye, ashy legs!
Avocado is another one of nature’s wonders that works inside and out to help control dry skin. A single fruit contains nearly 30% of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin E, which is a principal ingredient for soft, supple complexions.
Do you have a big date night approaching? Why not mix up a quick face mask using nothing but crushed avocado and honey? Vitamins E and C in the “alligator pear” nourish dry skin, while honey contains antioxidant power to kill the bacteria responsible for acne.
7. Sweet Potato
Another nutrient vital for supple skin is vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are among the best sources of this substance. The same stuff that turns them orange provides the phytonutrient power for a clearer complexion.
That’s not the only perk of this root veggie. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, serving as a prebiotic to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Your intestinal microbiome — this system of helpful germs — sends signals elsewhere in your body, helping to regulate hormonal levels and stave off acne from fluctuations.
8. Red Pepper
If it’s vitamin C you want, why not go straight to one of the best food sources? Red peppers have triple the amount of your standard orange — and you don’t have to struggle with the peel.
Red peppers also add an antioxidant kick to nearly any lunchtime favorite. A few strips add color and crunch to salads, wraps and soups.
If you have eczema, you might have tried an oatmeal mask to ease the itching and redness. The flakes contain anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin.
Keep this remedy on hand if you spend time in the great outdoors and don’t always watch your step on the trail. An oatmeal bath can help soothe the itch associated with poison ivy.
Maybe you give your dog or kitty pumpkin to help aid digestion and add luster to their coat. Guess what? Humans and pets aren’t all that different biologically, and what works for them also helps you.
Pumpkin is rich in prebiotic fiber to keep your intestinal microbiome healthy. It’s also chock-full of antioxidants and phytonutrients like vitamins C and E. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, acts as a natural sunscreen.
Even the seeds can help your skin. They contain high levels of several minerals, including zinc, which helps heal lesions more quickly. It also works with the magnesium pepitas possess to elevate your mood — and who doesn’t look better with a smile?
Soothe Your Skin with a Healthy Diet
Hydrate your complexion from the inside out this fall and winter. Control your dry skin by adding a few new healthy foods to your diet and reap the rewards a healthy glow brings!
Mia Barnes specializes in writing about sustainable, healthy nutrition. She is the Managing Editor at Body+Mind and contributes at many other outlets across the web.