The Best Foods to Eat for Glowing Skin Through Fall and Winter
Who else feels like they got slapped in the face by fall weather yesterday? It was shockingly freeeeezing, out there! And sure, I’m happy to no longer be sweating all my makeup off before I even sit down at my desk, but cooler weather comes with its own set of pesky skin problems: Dryness, redness and an overall lack of the dewy, glow-y, Snapchat-filter-esque skin we all aspire to have.
But before you give up and give in to simply sporting a drier, less glow-y face for half of the year, take note: We chatted with Jolene Hart, food-for-beauty guru and author of “Eat Pretty” and “Eat Pretty Every Day,” a seasonal guide to beauty foods that’s hitting shelves soon, to see what we should be putting on our plates to have the best skin we can during these colder months. See her tips below, then get to grocery shopping, friends!
Cold-weather season is also cold season, unfortunately. When you’re sick, your body experiences all sorts of inflammation and, long story short, as if being doomed to a snotty, bedridden existence for days on end isn’t bad enough, inflammation is a precursor to redness, blemishes, sensitivity and wrinkles. No, thank you, right? So the first thing you’re going to want to do during these colder months is load your plate up with immunity boosters to avoid getting sick in the first place, Hart says.
Some of Hart’s favorites when it comes to immunity boosters include shiitake mushrooms, which also aid in skin elasticity (yes, please!) and garlic, which Hart describes as a “wrinkle blocker” (I repeat: yes, please!) — the phytochemical allicin in garlic works to shut down the process of wrinkle formation. Plus, garlic is a king in the antibacterial and anti-fungal arena, making it great for immunity.
Then, there are fermented foods. Much of our immune system’s powers lie in our digestive system, Hart explains. And fermented foods (think: kombucha, kimchi, miso, and kefir) build up the healthy bacteria in your gut, which helps to keep your digestive system in tip-top shape. One of Hart’s favorite fermented foods to make at home is this gingered purple kraut, which requires just three ingredients (!!) and a jar.
Okay, so even after loading up on immunity-boosting foods, you got sick. It happens. Now is the time to work in anti-inflammatory heroes like fresh ginger and turmeric. We feel like everyone has talked about turmeric enough (it was named one of the trendiest foods of the year, after all), so let’s talk about ginger: Hart says ginger is one of the greatest anti-inflammatory foods out there and it’s super easy to add to just about anything you’re whipping up from stir-fries to smoothies to warm lemon water (another beauty superstar, by the way). Just keep a knob of fresh ginger in your freezer and grate it into anything and everything with a microplane.
Fact: Cold weather can wreak havoc on your once perfectly hydrated complexion, drying it out like the freakin’ Sahara. To lock in moisture during these colder months, you’re going to want to reach for healthy fats, Hart says. Healthy fats help to strengthen your cell membranes, which keeps your skin from losing water, keeping moisture locked in. Goodies to add to your cart the next time you head to the store: avocados, wild salmon, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds (these guys are also immune-boosting blemish fighters), sardines, and just about any nut and seed (hellooo, protein-packed hemp seeds) you can think of.
Another (unexpected) helper in the hydration department is cacao or dark chocolate — just make sure to look for 70 percent or higher if you aren’t going for straight cacao nibs. As a bonus, it’s also a mood booster. You can (and should) check out Hart’s recipe for Salted Superfood Chocolate Bark from “Eat Pretty Every Day” here.
Now, that we’ve tackled the moisture bit, let’s talk about how the heck you can maintain your Snapchat-filter glow IRL over the next few months. As colder temps hit, our cell turnover — the rate at which our skin releases dead cells, which is responsible for the Kendall Jenner-like glow we all aspire to emit — slows. This means less glow and more blemishes. NOOOOO.
To increase cell turnover, you’re going to want to load up on foods high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which increases cell turnover, plus it helps to balance sebum, which, when out of whack, can lead to super-dry (or super-oily) skin. Beta-carotene also helps to repair the damage of summer (Because you know you fell asleep, hat off, on the beach at least once this summer). You’ll find beta-carotene in orange veggies like squash, pumpkin, and one of Hart’s favorites, sweet potato. In an interesting departure from sweet potato’s usual uses, Hart is a big fan of throwing roasted sweet potato into smoothies. Genius, eh?
’Tis the season for holiday pies. And cookies. And spiked hot chocolate. And you know what all of these foods have in common? They send your blood sugar soaring — and then crashing. This fluctuation in blood sugar can lead to blemishes and wrinkles, Hart says. And who wants that? No one. One way to avoid some of sugar’s side effects is to add cinnamon to your sweets. Cinnamon reduces the blood sugar spike from sweets, plus it’s super high antioxidants which help to neutralize free radicals, skin saboteurs that we are all constantly being bombarded with.
This season can be a bit hard on our livers, what with all the holiday parties and family dinners and mimosa-fueled brunches with friends to complain about family dinners. To help your liver out, Hart suggest working roasted beets, which support your liver and help to slow the aging process (double whammy), into your beauty food mix. Because, when your liver looks good, you see it in your skin.
Beauty sprinkles on top
Warming spices are the beauty sprinkles on top of all of your food, no matter the season, Hart says. Most are high in antioxidants, which, again, are great for fighting free radicals which can lead to all sort of unwanted skin issues. Plus, warming spices aid the digestive process. And need we say it again? When your digestive system is working well, it shows on your face.
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