As the nights draw in and we all wrap up warm it is easy to forget your skin care regime as you hide beneath all those layers. However, healthy, happy, nourished skin is not just a must for summer! Make sure you’re including these five great foods for healthy skin in amongst your comfort food this fall.
Roasted on an open fire, bought from a street vendor (skip the butter!), or store bought and prepared at home, chestnuts are a powerhouse of nutrition. These are the only nuts to contain vitamin C (shh, they’re not actually a nut) and are low on the glycemic index, helping help keep blood sugar balanced. Chestnuts are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and folate which our skin needs to help cells communicate effectively for proper growth and protection from infection.
Another seasonal favourite, these sweet root vegetables are perfect lightly steamed, roasted with a dash of olive oil and rosemary, or mashed and used as a pie topping. Rich in vitamins C, E and K, and containing folic acid, vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), B1 (thiamine) and B5 (pantothenic acid), parsnips offer a range of benefits for the skin.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps keep skin cell membranes healthy so that they can better control what goes in and out of the cells, and vitamin B6 can be particularly helpful for those women who tend to have acne breakouts around the time of their period as this vitamin plays a role in hormone balance. Parsnips also provide calcium and potassium, helping to keep skin hydrated and supporting healthy rates of new skin cell growth. Eating parsnips and other vitamin C-rich foods also supports the immune system helping you avoid the sniffles and sinus infections so you can make sure that Rudolf is the only one with a red nose this Christmas.
Frosty mornings can see us craving a hot breakfast to keep us warm on the commute to work. What better than porridge? Not only are oats a great source of fibre, helping to keep cholesterol low and to aid elimination of toxins, they are also rich in silica. This mineral makes up a significant portion of strong hair, nails and skin and is often included in hair-care products. Nourish your body from the inside with a bowl of porridge oats, a dash of maple syrup or coconut sugar (packed full of vitamins and minerals!), and a little cinnamon to help with blood sugar balance.
A great addition to your morning bowl of porridge, opt for the darker green, organically grown pumpkin seeds where possible as these have the highest levels of magnesium and zinc. Involved in hundreds of enzymatic processes in the body, and essential for the production of collagen and elastin, zinc is a key mineral for reducing visible signs of ageing, maintaining an effective skin barrier against infection, and helping to reduce scarring and heal the skin.
Mandarins (Christmas Oranges!)
And finally, there’s nothing quite like mandarins and tangerines to get us in the spirit of the festive season. These handy little parcels of nourishment are absolutely packed with vitamin C, folate, potassium, beta-carotene and a range of other antioxidants. We need vitamin C in order to create collagen, the protein that keeps skin looking and feeling firm, hydrated, and youthful, while beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) is a powerful antioxidant associated with reduced wrinkles and acne.
Furthermore, a study at the University of Valencia found that mandarin juice could lower cholesterol and increase levels of antioxidant enzymes in the liver. Perfect for when you’ve had a little too much mulled wine.
While we don’t know everything about how diet and the skin interact, there is significant evidence showing links between deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals and conditions like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, and even autoimmune diseases like vitiligo (a skin pigment problem). With so many antioxidant-rich seasonal fall foods it’s easy to give your skin a lift even if it’s grey and gloomy outside, so take care to nourish your skin this winter and it’ll be that much easier to don your bikini when the warmer weather rolls back around.