So we have officially descended into the depths of winter. Limited sunlight and biting temperatures combined with central heating and richer foods leave our skin with a lot to contend with. Our summer glow is now replaced with dull, dry complexions that yearn for some serious attention. Don’t reach for expensive creams that are often chemical laden to solve your skin’s woes when nature has blessed us with her magic weapons. Beauty always starts from within so now is the time to perfect your winter skin nutrition.
Keep skin hydrated with water
The human body is 50-70% water depending on age and health status. Our skin is our largest organ and with so much of our body and skin consisting of water, it’s essential we keep properly hydrated to maintain healthy glowing complexions. Well hydrated skin cells are plumper, more resilient and therefore less prone to wrinkles. The best way to keep hydrated? Drink water according to thirst consistently during the day and avoid too much water just before bed, which might result in puffy skin first thing in the morning. Eat foods rich in water, such as fruit, vegetables, soups and casseroles, which will also keep you warm and cosy in these winter months. Herbal teas are another great way to keep hydrated and warm in winter. Some good ones for the skin include dandelion, nettle, burdock, echinacea and milk thistle for cleansing, blood purifying and prevention of break-outs; rose, hibiscus and chamomile for calming and balancing and white, green, jasmine, rooibos, chaga, oolong and olive leaf tea for anti-ageing. You can also add any of these tea bags to your bath.
Colourful fruit and vegetables for antioxidants
Create a masterpiece on your plate with a rainbow variety of colourful organic fruit and vegetables that are rich in powerful antioxidants and nutrients that help protect the skin from cellular damage. Beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, which the body converts as required, is found in green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, watercress, kale) and orange fruit and vegetables (apricots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin). Lutein, found in tomatoes, kale, papaya and spinach is a potent antioxidant, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone. Vitamin C is needed for radiant skin, to help blemishes heal properly and is essential for the production of collagen, the elastic tissue in skin that declines with age. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, sprouts, peppers, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries, sweet potatoes, maca, baobab, acerola cherries, black pepper and sea buckthorn juice. Broccoli is also high in vitamin c and contains a compound that helps boost DNA repair cells, as well as folate, which is needed for healthy new cell production. A great way to consume large amounts of fruit and vegetables is in juices, smoothies, soups, stir-fry’s and casseroles. For a super-charged dose of antioxidants, take a shot of OVIO Olive Leaf daily supplement each morning.
Repair and balance with zinc
Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage, speed up healing and keep skin soft and supple whilst balancing hormones and boosting the immune system. Nuts, seeds (particularly pumpkin seeds), shellfish, turkey, eggs, mushrooms and dark green leafy vegetables are full of zinc. Lack of zinc can lead to stretch marks and stubborn blemishes. A dull complexion, white spots on fingernails, and dandruff are signs of deficiency. Our British soils are deficient in zinc so it is wise to take a good ‘whole food’ or ‘food state’ zinc supplement at night as it is better absorbed then.
Essential Fatty Acids
Adequate essential fatty acids really do make the skin glow.Eat plenty of these, and they not only protect your skin, but help repair it and ward off dryness. EFAs are responsible for healthy cell membranes and because the cell membrane holds water, the stronger the barrier the better your cells hold moisture. And that means plumper, younger-looking skin. Foods rich in EFAs include brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (soak nuts and seeds for better digestion), pine nuts, avocados and wild salmon. Oily fish is a great EFA source but beware of the quantities you consume due to heavy metal contamination. Make sure it’s wild not farmed and not caught in the Pacific Ocean as the fish there may be affected by the Fukushima disaster. The foods mentioned above are also great sources of vitamin E that protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Organic and cold pressed hemp oil has the perfect ratio of omega 3, 6 & 9, and according to eastern wisdom has a ‘cooling’ energy so acts as a great anti-inflammatory. Coconut contains triglycerides, which are healthy fats that plump up skin membranes and cells by keeping them hydrated. Without these fats, the skin becomes dehydrated no matter how much water you drink. Add coconut oil to your smoothie or use as a spread.
Avoid Sugar and prevent break-outs
High blood sugar can weaken the skin by affecting tissues like collagen and leave you more vulnerable to lines and wrinkles. Eat plenty of vegetables, short grain brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, beans, pulses, porridge and other slow-releasing carbohydrates. These release sugar into the blood stream gradually, providing you with a steady supply of energy. Millet is another slow releasing carbohydrate and is rich in silicon, which is vital for healthy skin, hair, teeth, eyes and nails. Avoid high GI carbohydrates like biscuits and sugary drinks, as they lead to production of insulin, which may damage collagen and accelerate wrinkles. Replace refined sugar with a little raw honey (cold pressed to retain active enzymes and also great to use as a face mask), organic coconut palm sugar or stevia.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract may prevent premature ageing, maintain elasticity and skin thickness, support blood flow to the skin, reduce redness and maintain water balance within the skin. It contains hydroxytyrosol the most potent antioxidant found so far that is both fat and water soluble, giving it the highest bioavailability of any antioxidant and the capacity to absorb 10 times the amount of free radicals as green tea. It provides a combination of 12 naturally occurring polyphenolic antioxidants, 5 times the antioxidant activity of Vitamin C, to support a radiant complexion. OVIO antioxidant daily supplement not only contains olive leaf extract it also contains calendula that enhances the formulas anti-inflammatory ability. Calendula is often used in creams to soothe and heal the skin and is also great for eczema and psoriasis that can flair up more aggressively in the winter months. Add OVIO olive leaf extract + calendula to juice or smoothies or make a winter warmer tea by combining it with hot apple juice and a bit of grated ginger. Or add to floral water like rose or lavender to make a face toner.
And a few other helping hands...
- Oils applied topically to the skin in replacement to a cream are very nourishing whilst still allowing your skin to breathe. My favourites are sea buckthorn, rosehip, argan, pomegranate, rice bran, avocado, prickly pear and olive oil.
- Deep breathing. Wrap up snug and take an oxygen rich walk in the woods this winter and breathe in the fresh air or try some meditation and yoga.
- Skin brushing is one of the best ways to tone your skin, move lymph and eliminate cellulite. 5 minutes a day is as effective as 30 minutes of exercise at toning the skin.
- Sleep well to allow your skin to repair. Make sure you are in bed by 11pm as much as possible to allow your liver to effectively filter itself at this time.
- Regular exercise is essential for skin health and good circulation. Skipping is particularly good to move the lymph to create better skin tone and get fresh blood pumping around your body.
- Cleanse regularly. Take OVIO daily to keep your system cleansed and digestive system healthy. Inflamed skin usually originates from inflammation in the colon so keep your colon healthy for clear, healthy skin. Combine OVIO antioxidant daily supplements with a good probiotic for optimal digestive system support.