Nutrition for the Skin - Winter Edition.
Let’s talk about winter, seeing as it’s been especially frosty lately. The drastic decreases in temperature and lack of sunshine can leave our skin feeling dull, dry, and drained of colour. Well, you don’t need to wait around for summer to get your glow back! Below I’ve set out a few simple steps you can follow to get yourself feeling full of feel-good endorphins once more including what your body needs more than ever at this time of year, and some recipes well worth a try to stand out as a beacon of light in amongst the grey winter landscape!
Step 1 - Stay Hydrated
It is so easy to forget to drink enough water, it is definitely something I forget to myself most of the time! However, research has suggested that outdoor temperature has a direct effect on how much water we drink, being at its lowest in Winter. Understandably, you wouldn’t think to drink as much when you’re shuffling through the snow as you would when you’re sweating yourself silly on the beach, but we should always be aiming for that 2 litres a-day, regardless of the weather! It’s been suggested that increased water consumption can visibly improve the skin’s appearance, reducing the likelihood of dry, rough skin. It’s also been suggested that maintaining good levels of hydration can improve your skin's natural bounce and elasticity!
Still going to struggle remembering to glug the good stuff? Ever since I bought myself a nice drinks bottle it’s definitely encouraged me to drink more, because I love the bottle! Not to mention that in the long term having a reusable bottle will not only save you money but also a very easy way of reducing your plastic usage (no more plastic, disposable bottles of water!)
Step 2 - Ensure your getting enough Vitamin D
Speaking for people in the UK mainly here, in the months of March to October it is recommended by the NHS to consider taking a 10 microgram supplement of Vitamin D as the British sunshine doesn’t contain sufficient levels of UVB radiation. You need vitamin D to regulate intake of calcium and phosphate in to the body which are important nutrients for bone, teeth and muscle health. You need it for so many aspects of your health it’s needless to list them all - but one to highlight is vitamin D has also been linked to improved sleep quality - and sleep is an all time number one must for healthier looking skin! You can also get small amounts of Vitamin D from your diet including oily fish, red meat and eggs.
Step 3 - Eat nutrient-dense, heart warming foods!
Cold weather makes you crave feel-good food, right? I know that’s certainly the way for me! Your body will require more energy to keep you warm & well in Winter, so it’s really worth fuelling yourself in the correct way to help it out! I aim to eat seasonally, and cost effectively. Below i’ve noted down a couple meal suggestions to highlight some key nutrients to include in your diet to optimise your energy levels in the colder months:
A scrumptious snack - Homemade butterbean and mustard spread on Wholegrain toast
1 tin of butter beans in water, drained and rinsed
1 tsp wholegrain mustard (as a guide, add the mustard to taste)
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
A couple of slices of wholegrain toast (my favourite is sourdough!)
Blend all ingredients together with a hand blender (apart from the toast!) until smooth. Spread over warm toast and enjoy!
I love making this spread, it’s wholesome and fulfilling - the mustard gives it a warming kick as well so I think it’s so perfect in Winter!
A speedy, spicy dinner - Keralan Chickpea Curry
1 tin of new potatoes
1 carrot, peeled & chopped into medium chunks
½ swede, peeled & chopped into medium chunks
1 courgette, chopped into large chunks
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tin of coconut milk
1 jar of Keralan curry paste (you can find this in Waitrose, about £1.80)
1 onion, roughly chopped
On a low heat, fry the onion & carrot in a small amount of vegetable oil until the onion is soft. Add in the courgette, swede and the jar of curry paste and fry for a further 3 minutes.
Lastly, stir in the chickpeas and potatoes just before adding in the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until your vegetables (namely the swede) are soft and the liquid has reduced slightly.
Serve with wholegrain rice.
This is such a quick curry, taking only about 20 minutes to cook, and it’s packed full of nutrients! Keralan curry is also so warming, and has just the right amount of kick warm you through after a cold day! I really recommend trying this if you don’t have much time but want to cook up a tasty, healthy meal. It also makes about 3 or 4 portions when I make it so good for lunches in the days to follow too!
The spotlight goes to fibre on these recipes, which is absolutely vital to help your body remove harmful toxins and waste from your body. Helping your body to remove unwanted substances from the body via your digestion may reduce likelihood of waste products being excreted through the skin (aka, spots!). Fibre is also suggested to help with maintaining a healthy weight. You can find fibre in wholegrains (pasta, rice, bread), beans, lentils, chickpeas and root vegetables.
Both these meal suggestions also pack a good amount of protein, which is one of the 3 macronutrients all our foods are composed of. Protein, I could write about for days and days on the benefits! But to keep it short, we should be aiming for at least 3 high-protein meals a-day and as a very rough guideline, consuming at least 0.8g of protein per 1kg of our bodyweight, per day.
One last suggestion for what to eat in winter months to maintain your glow… Slow cooked meat on the bone! I’m talking chicken casseroles and beef stews! So long as it’s slow cooked on the bone, you’re not only going to be enjoying some of the best comfort food out there, but all the collagen from the bone is going to be released in to the meat that you eat! Collagen is the main protein that makes up our connective skin tissues and responsible for the elasticity and youthful appearance of skin. Needless to say, whipping up a bone broth is way cheaper than botox.
Lots of love, and good luck with the glow, Alexandra xxx