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Foods to nourish your skin this winter

By Anne Garner

Many of us find it difficult to keep our skin hydrated and healthy in the winter. Sometimes even careful moisturising can prove inadequate in fighting dry and itchy skin. The actions of drinking water and slapping on skin creams are very limited in how far they can go in helping our skin to emerge the other side of winter, looking young and healthy. If we want to maintain youthful, healthy skin throughout winter, our only chance is to concentrate on the following skin-nourishing foods, and achieve our aim from the inside out.

Avocados

Our skin needs Vitamin E in order to neutralise free radicals present in the environment, and in our very own bodies. These particles are the stuff of horror movies where injury to our skin's complexion is concerned. Avocados possess more Vitamin E than any other fruit, and also come with its own supply of glutathione (an antioxidant which is involved in barring cancer cells and keeping premature aging at bay).  Vitamin E foods help prevent our skin from drying out in the harshness of the cold weather and strong wind.  Preserving our skin's moisture from the inside out, keeps it looking fresh, and staves of the wrinkling process that dryness inevitably leads to.

Green tea

In order to effectively stave off wrinkles – until we must give in, we need a healthy supply of collagen, and elastin in our skin.  Imagine collagen as natural botox, and elastin, as the elastic that keeps the neck of your socks from completely falling apart.  Two cups of Green Tea a day can help our skin to strengthen its supply of collagen, and keep our elastin topped up to help fight the antioxidants at the same time.  Just don't overdo it, because as you know, too much of theanine can have negative effects on your overall health.
Oysters, white kidney beans and red meat, are also great for collagen formation, because they are high in zinc, which is vital for boosting our collagen supply.

Orange foods

Orange foods like pumpkin, carrots, mangoes, apricots and sweet potatoes are bursting with Beta carotene.  This is essential to the growth and repair of healthy skin tissue. It is advisable not to take high doses of beta carotene as a supplement. However, eating foods rich in this vitamin will do wonders for your skin's requirements in the cold season, when it needs all the help it can possibly get to battle cold sores, drying and itchiness.  

Blueberries

The USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre conducted a study on 40 fruits and vegetables, to analyse their antioxidant activity. Blueberries, you'll be pleased to know (if you like them) came out on top. They're loaded with vitamin C and E and are great for the prevention of free-radical activity. We will look at why Vitamin C is so important when we get to the tomatoes.  

Tomatoes

Cooked or tinned tomatoes are extremely high in Vitamin C. As we know, our bodies cannot create this vitamin naturally. Therefore, it is vital, more so in winter, that we take care to eat as much Vitamin C-rich foods as we possibly can. Why is vitamin C important as a winter skin-care food?  It helps in the production of collagen, which is the substance that keeps our skin elastic and wrinkle-free. Oranges and red peppers also provide a high source of this vital skin-care vitamin.
Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which is the substance responsible for fighting off free radicals in the body, and protects against us harmful UV rays.  

Fish and Nuts

Omega-3 fatty acids serve to hydrate the skin and aids in keeping it plumped – delaying deep wrinkles.  In the winter, no amount of rehydrating or wrinkle-free cream can achieve this feat better than omega-3 working from the inside out. This is because it enhances a glowing complexion, by smoothening out the faults from within. For this to work properly, eating about 10 – 15 ounces of fish per week, or an ounce of walnuts per day is recommended.

Imagine omega-3 fatty acids as the oil in the car, that keeps it street-safe.  Cutting out good fats completely is bad for your body because it will come back to seriously bite you in the form of flaky, itchy skin, especially in dark, cold winters. (If you don't eat fish, you can get some plant Omega -3 from Flaxseed).
Walnuts also offer our bodies the kind of fat that we need to keep them well-oiled. It's referred to as linolenic acid, and is the type of fat - that even though vital to us - we cannot make naturally. Walnuts also possess zinc, an essential tool for skin repair and rejuvenation.

Olive Oil

Australian researchers conducted a study of the relationship between diet and skin aging, and found that people who maintained a high intake of Olive oil, possessed youthful-looking skin for longer. This is so, because Olive oil is high in monounsaturated  fats, which work hard at protecting the skin cell membrane.   On one hand the harshness of winter strips our outer skin of the little protection it manages to hold on to.  Fighting on our side, monounsaturated fats repair and maintain the skin's elasticity and appearance from the inside where it cannot be washed off by dry, cold weather.  Considering this advantage, plus the fact that Olive oil is very high vitamin E and beta-carotene, it  should be very high on our list of winter skin-protection  foods.  Swapping cooking oil and salad dressing for Olive oil in the winter months may be a splendid idea to introduce to your household.

It's good to note that quite a number of these foods work hand in hand towards giving our skin the protection and preservation that it needs.  Introduce them together, as one unit, into your every day diet and you will start to see the difference in the matter of weeks. Pay attention to a sensible amount of water intake and your usual moisturising routine, and your skin should survive this winter, looking great, and ready for springtime. The above foods will work from the inside-out, not only for lovely skin, but towards better overall health as a whole.

About the Author

Anne Lyken-Garner is a contributing writer for Fabulously40 Youth Project Worker, Writer, Television Support Actress, Occasional model

Visit Anne's blogspot for more of her work.






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