Writer: Melanie Darbyshire
Among the many irritations the winter season thrusts upon us – terrible driving conditions, a vicious cold and flu season and serious vitamin D deficiencies, to name a few – skin irritations and issues rank pretty high on the list. Dry, itchy, cracked skin; major (and minor) breakouts; flare ups of eczema and other skin conditions. These are just some of the things that many Calgarians have to deal with at this time every year. And while it may seem easy enough to apply extra moisturizer, the issues often originate and can be ameliorated with what we put in our bodies.
Feeling the pain of so many, we’ve put together a list of what to eat to help keep your skin moisturized and healthy through the (long), cold months.
These “good fats” are essential in protecting your skin during the winter. First, these fatty acids help normalize skin fats and prevent dehydration in your skin cells. This keeps your skin moisturized, which can help to decrease the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Second, omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect, which can help to heal UV damage and other conditions aggravated by cold weather such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Omega 3s can be found in fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines, walnuts, beans, flaxseeds and canola oil. Made Foods’ Tuna Nicoise Wrap (containing tuna and canola oil), Breakfast Burrito (containing white and red beans) and Super Oat Granola Bars (flax seeds) can help you bump up your good fat intake.
Known for so many health benefits – including boosting the immune system and acting as a powerful antioxidant – Vitamin C also helps boost the body’s production of collagen, the protein fibbers that give skin its strength and resiliency. It is critical to keep your skin elastic and give it a plump, youthful look.
Fruits, vegetables and dark leafy greens are great sources of Vitamin C. Try Made Foods’ Choco-Berry Smoothie (which includes blueberries, bananas and oranges), No Fry Stir-Fry (which includes broccoli, carrots and red peppers) or the Kale Chicken Pesto Flatbread (which includes tomatoes, kale, wild mushrooms, red onions and cauliflower) to get more Vitamin C.
Antioxidants fight free radical damage to your skin and your entire body. In the cold winter months, they are particularly helpful in protecting your skin. While Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant, Vitamins A and E are other powerful antioxidants. Vitamin A is obtained from carotenoids (phytochemicals that your body converts to Vitamin A) in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, spinach and Swiss chard.
Vitamin E’s benefits appear to be in acting as a skin conditioner and in helping to maintain the skin’s elasticity. Foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach and asparagus are good sources of Vitamin E.
To boost your antioxidant intake, try Made Foods’ Southwestern Hash (which includes sweet potato, corn, black beans and canola oil), Southwest Steak Burrito (which includes spinach, black beans and canola oil) or Maple Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal (chock-full of hemp hearts, black chia seeds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds)
Our skin is more prone to dehydration in the winter – especially in Calgary which is already a very dry place. In addition to drinking plenty of water every day, eat foods high in water content to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Good choices include watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, oranges, kiwi, and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots.
Made Foods’ Water Kefir (containing mineralized water, sugar cane, kefir grains, raspberries and cinnamon) is great way to drink more water. The Honeyed Apple Smoothie (containing coconut water, granny smith apples, cucumber and oranges) and Troy’s Turkey Chili (containing tomatoes, carrots, peppers and celery) can provide extra hydration through food.