Winter is a rough season for our skin.
As the days get shorter, the air gets colder and drier. Winters for me used to mean miserable sinus infections, dry brittle hair, cracked knuckles, and a chapped face. It was no fun. Over the past few years I have learned some great survival techniques to keep my skin and body healthy through the fall and winter months. A good winter skin care approach involves environmental, dietary, and skincare elements. Here are my top dietary tips to help your skin thrive this winter.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Drinking water is essential to keeping your skin healthy any time of the year. Good hydration helps your body flush waste that makes you sluggish and dulls your skin, and it helps keep your skin strong and radiant.
The dry winter air, aggravated by heaters and fireplaces, means you need even more hydration to stay healthy through winter. The problem for me is that on a cold day a tall glass of water just isn't appealing.
So how do I stay hydrated through the fall and winter months?
1) Hot Lemon Water
Every morning I have a cup of hot water with a few lemon slices and a dab of honey. Hot lemon water has a host of benefits for the skin and body. It helps detox your system, balances the body's pH, and hydrates your system.
2) Hot Tea
Hot tea keeps your body hydrated and soothes the soul. The antioxidants in tea also give the body a needed health boost. If you're trying to stay away from caffeine you can choose a great herbal tea. Hibiscus, rose hip, lavender, mint, and rose petals are some my favorite herbal tea ingredients.
Soups are like a secret weapon for the winter months. They are the ultimate comfort food, are often full of health boosting vegetables and herbs, and are an easy way to add water to your winter diet. In addition to the traditional favorites, like chicken and dumplings, and vegetable beef, try adding vegetable puree soups to your daily diet. Pureed vegetable soups are simple to make, full of flavor, and offer easy to digest nutrients to boost your system through the winter months. My favorites are butternut squash, carrot-ginger, and leek-potato.
Good collagen levels keep your skin strong and elastic. What are the easiest ways to boost your collagen levels?
1) Bone Broth
Bone broth made from grass fed animals is a rich health food. In addition to being beneficial to gut and joint health, it is great for the skin. The gelatin in bone broth helps build your body's natural stores of collagen, and healthy fats present in bone broth are an essential part of good nutrition. Use it as the base for your vegetable puree soup for a health boosting super star.
Before being hijacked by artifical colors and excessive sweeteners, gelatin desserts (like jello) were a healthy food. Gelatin is easy on the stomach, great for your joints, and helps strengthen and soften the skin. I add a scoop of organic gelatin to my hot lemon water to soothe my sore throat when I have a cold. Make homemade jello, add a spoonful of gelatin to a hot drink, or drink homemade bone broth everyday to get a daily dose of gelatin through the winter.
*always make sure your bone broth and gelatin are from organic, grass-fed animals
3) Fruits and Veggies
Some fruits and vegetables give your body the building blocks for making collagen. Red veggies like tomatoes and red peppers, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, and dark berries like blueberries and blackberries help your body make its own collagen.
You can also find a good quality collagen supplement. Always consult a doctor before starting any new supplements.
The foods that naturally grow during a season are often the best foods for helping your body deal with the unique challenges of that season. Cole crops (like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage), citrus fruits, apples, pomegranates and the warm spices like allspice, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, are great things to add to your diet during the winter months. Check out this seasonal eating guide to help choose the best foods for any month.
In part 3 I will share the skin care products that have saved my skin from winter dryness.
Making a few simple changes to your lifestyle can have a tremendous effect on your skin and overall health. Download my 5 Simple Steps to Healthier Skin to learn how you can achieve healthier skin with a few simple changes to your daily routines.