Winter Skin Care – Advice from a Nutritionist
Ah the skin! Our largest organ comprised of multiple layers of tissues protecting our insides from dropping outside. And yet we see it more superficially than functionally most of the time. It’s the first thing other people see, the cover to our book and so we spend countless hours obsessing over its appearance; disguising blemishes, marks and dullness as best we can.
We want our outside appearance to match our inside appearance, right?! Flawless, beautiful and full of life!
So what does that all have to do with the lunch we just ate? Well just as I mentioned, your outside has to match your inside and that is a direct reflection of the food you eat. Many studies support that our food choices impact the health and vibrancy of our skin. So put down that bag of chips and read on, gorgeous!
Popeye was right! But even if you aren’t helping a damsel in distress escape an oncoming train you still might want to consider stocking up on some spinach. This beautiful green is full of Vitamin E, not to mention a plethora of other minerals and nutrients. Vitamin E is fat soluble and stored in our fat cells. We depend on our diet to keep these levels high and when they are high, Vitamin E is secreted through protective oils that coat the outer layer of our skin. And moisture is something we seriously lack in the winter. Vitamin E will also promote healing of the skin and reduce the appearance of scarring.
Spinach is also high in fiber. Extremely helpful in clearing toxins from the body. Toxins are in the air we breathe, our water, our food, and chemicals in our environment in addition to our natural body processes like digestion. When this waste isn’t properly eliminated from our organs, our skin can become thick, dull, blemished and conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis can ensue. I bet that spinach salad is sounding pretty good right about now, huh? Better make it Organic!
Mmmmm! Sweet, succulent strawberries. I guess I don’t have to do much convincing to get you to eat these bad boys?! But here’s a little more incentive! Strawberries are abundant in Vitamin C, the water soluble vitamin crucial to the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps the renewal and growth of cells, blood vessels and gives skin elasticity and firmness. It can decrease with age and our cell structure will weaken resulting in thinner, damaged and wrinkled skin. That supple, youthful glow can’t live without it.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, helping to counter the damaging effects of free radicals. What’s the deal with free radicals, you ask? Well without going full nerd on you, here’s a brief synopsis of these party poopers! Weak chemical bonds within the body can split forming free radicals. This can arise through our natural physiological processes, inflammation, stress, diet, drugs, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, pollution and sun exposure. Free radicals become unstable and react by stealing electrons to complete their bond. This unfortunately forces another bond to be broken creating a chain reaction of thievery. Ultimately this disrupts our cells and creates damage. How rude! But here comes powerful antioxidant to save the day. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and ending this stealing reaction. What a sweetheart! But remember our body doesn’t store Vitamin C so it’s important to consume it on a regular basis.
Getting a lot of press lately, coconut oil is as good as it’s being touted to be. High levels of lauric, capric and caprylic acid contribute to coconut oil’s antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Aside from it’s ability to help fight off yeast, fungus and candida, this guy will help increase digestion and improve our ability to absorb nutrients and minerals. As a medium chain triglyceride, coconut is not digested the same way other fats are digested; rather it is absorbed from the intestines and sent to the liver to be burned as fuel helping to increase metabolism and energy. As we get older our pancreas doesn’t produce as many digestive enzymes, our intestines aren’t absorbing nutrients like they used to and the whole process of digestion and elimination moves at a much slower rate. Many of us can suffer vitamin and mineral deficiencies and this can be seen through our skin. Coconut oil is your diet’s best friend. He can help you get the most out of all the other wonderful foods you are eating, not to mention helping fight those free radical bad guys.
Not only will coconut oil be good for your insides, but try slathering it on our outsides! Generally our skin is seriously lacking moisture. Skin can feel dry, cracked and itchy. Thanks a lot winter! Moisturizing with coconut oil will help keep your skin looking beautiful and since it has antibacterial properties you can rest assured those blemishes will be taken care of as well. And remember anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, so wouldn’t you rather it be something you would actually eat?! Me too!!Yum!
I bet your skin is feeling pretty hungry right about now! Great! Well go feed your skin with this great Strawberry Spinach Salad from Joyous Health. And while you’re making it, try moisturizing those dry hands with some coconut oil!
Jeanette Rauch, Registered Holistic Nutritionist RHN
For more winter skin care advice, check out blog posts from other Big Carrot health experts: