Feeling like you’re glowing inside and out is easy enough in summer – the sun is shining, you’re eating refreshing produce and drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated. But once the cold weather sets in, that glow fades as quickly as your summer tan.
Julia Simmonds, a pharmacist and founder of natural skincare range, Itchy Baby Co, has revealed the top ten things you need to eat and drink to keep your skin and immune system super healthy, all winter long.
The best part? Most of them are probably already in your fridge or pantry – and, if they’re not, you can just pick them up from the grocery store. No fancy vitamins or expensive detox teas necessary.
There are some foods that offer it all when it comes to keeping your skin and immune system healthy. These foods are generally high in Vitamins A, B6, C, E, D and often with bonus properties such as Omega-3.
“Our skin is the first line of defence against bacteria and, coupled with our immune system, needs to be in peak condition to fight off colds and flu during winter,” Julia says. “What we eat can impact the general condition of our skin as a natural defensive barrier to fight illness and have a huge effect on how well our immune system works.”
So what should we be eating to give ourselves the best chance of fighting infection this winter? These are Julia’s top picks…
Oats are said to have natural anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce skin inflammation or redness as well as protect against skin irritation, and can also come in handy when fighting a sore throat. Warm oats are the perfect winter time breakfast with benefits! While they are warming up our insides, they are also filling our bodies with antimicrobials and antioxidants.
2. Calcium-rich foods
The top layer of skin needs calcium to retain moisture and stop your skin from losing hydration and becoming dry. Calcium makes a natural sebum, which coats your skin to stop water loss, and also helps make new skin cells. If your skin isn’t able to keep up with making the new skin cells your body needs, it can become very dry, thin and more susceptible to breaks and tears.
3. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are full of Vitamin E which your skin needs a lot of to repair itself, but they also help decrease skin inflammation and redness. Vitamin E also keeps skin cells healthy by reducing the damage of free radicals which can be a result of poor food choices, smoking or pollution. Sunflower seeds are packed with Vitamin E to keep your skin in great condition by defending it against environmental triggers which can weaken your skin’s natural barrier and cause inflammation and infection. As well as Vitamin E, sunflower seeds have Vitamin B6 which is one of the most well-known immune boosting vitamins.
4. Coconut water
Drinking coconut water not only keeps your skin hydrated to prevent dryness but has natural properties that help reduce skin inflammation and redness. These properties regulate how the body responds to inflammation and lessen the potential impact of your body’s response. Coconut water also contains lauric acid which can help protect against skin infections.
5. Red capsicums
Citrus fruits often get all the glory when it comes to foods full of Vitamin C, but one cup of red capsicum has three times the amount of Vitamin C of an orange. Vitamin C helps form white blood cells to strengthen the immune system and fight infection. The body isn’t able to store Vitamin C, so remember to include it in your diet every day.
6. Sweet potatoes
With the skin on! And baked rather than boiled because boiling will lose the water-soluble nutrients. Sweet potatoes are full of Vitamin A needed to keep our skin healthy and Vitamin C to fight infection.
7. Fatty Fish
Tuna and salmon are high in Vitamin D which can help improve skin elasticity and also strengthen the immune system. These fish are also high in Omega 3 which turns on the cells in our immune system that are able to fight infection.
Nuts, but in particular almonds because they are abundant in both Vitamin E for skin strength and repair, and Vitamin C to help prevent colds. Vitamin E can also help with dry skin as it works to lock hydration into the top layer of your skin.
Spinach, with both Vitamin A and C, maintains our infection fighting cells so they are ready for action. Combined with Vitamin E this combination of vitamins can help improve skin tone, complexion and repair.
And as always keep up your water intake to keep skin well hydrated and flush the body more quickly of toxins.