A Grocery List for Winter Skin
Unless you live in Florida or California, most of us are bundled under wintertime layers from now until— let’s just be real— April, at least for us freezing in NYC. It’s cold, it’s windy – the heat blasting inside is dry and our skin needs love now more than ever to stay well-hydrated and healthy. Forget about skincare and makeup products for now – there’s more we can do to inspire our glow from within during winter and it starts at your local grocery store. I share my ultimate shopping list for optimum hydration for wintertime skin – healing foods + vitamins to take. As always, keep in mind to avoid caffeinated beverages, which naturally dehydrate your skin and remember, increase your water intake and sleep, sleep, sleep. Our bodies need plenty of rest and rejuvenate best while we dream, so we can glow-hard during the colder months, too.
*Shop wintertime eats that are in-season, easy to find, and will help add hydration to your skin
Pomegranate seeds: deliciously refreshing and beautiful in color, these sweet seeds are packed with polyphenol antioxidants to protect skin, fight inflammation, and boost blood flow (hello, glowing skin). These powerful seeds also contain ellagic acid, which is a super-antioxidant that's been shown to prevent wrinkles. Eat regularly in the AM for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack for glowing, firmer skin. Bonus: if you want the skin-benefits without the messy seeds, drinking pomegranate juice is another option for replenishing dull and dry skin and is an excellent source of vitamin C, says Dr. Ellen Marmur, a NYC board-certified dermatologist.
Sweet potatoes (and other “orange” foods like carrots): these sweet foods are rich in antioxidants, such as, beta-carotene, which helps to prevent winter dry skin by strengthening the skin’s protective barrier – adding moisturize and plumping skin cells, says Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, and author of “The New Fat Flush Plan.” Sweet potatoes and carrots are also full of vitamin C, which help brighten and smooth away wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. Yes, please! Sweet potatoes are delicious (you had me at sweet potato fries), leave you feeling super-cozy and satisfied. It’s a definite wintertime win and must in my shopping cart.
Kale: Our love for kale remains more fervent than ever… and why not? It supplies a day's worth of both Vitamin A (skin renewal) and Vitamin C (a boost in collagen = firmer skin, remember?). In an interesting study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it found that those who ate a diet rich in vitamin C had fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness. Definitely eating ALL the kale – and incorporating in soups, salads, smoothies, you name it.
Citrus: it’s easy to forget about fruits during the colder months because well, not everything is in season, it’s more expensive and we often crave heavier and warmer foods when it’s snowing outside, but it’s just as important to keep our fruit intake high during this time of year. An easy and affordable way to do that, citrus. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes. All are loaded with you guessed it, vitamin C, vitamin C really is the ultimate vitamin for that fountain-of-youth glow we crave. Grapefruit in particular not only boosts our metabolism, it’s also high in enzymes, which burn fat and it’s high in water content, which keeps you and your skin happily hydrated, says Beth Shaw, author of “YogaLean.” Burning fat and keeping you hydrated? It’s a no-brainer.
Sunflower seeds: sunflower seeds remind me of being a kid, and I like that (consuming beauty foods, since the 80’s). These seeds are a super source of vitamin E – keeping skin supple and hydrated. Vitamin E strengthens skin membranes for optimal hydration, plus protects against free radical and UV damage. These seeds might as well be magic, a handful also contains a supply of omega-6 fatty acids, which stimulates skin growth and contains selenium, which keeps skin super healthy and fights off skin infections. Great skin and you can feel like a kid again when you reach for this snack.
Healthy fats: the good fats we need and love. Think avocado, almonds, coconut oil. We crave comfort foods during wintertime, says Danuta Mieloch, a skincare goddess, master esthetician, and owner of Rescue Spa in NYC and Philadelphia. She encourages us to increase our healthy fat intake to keep skin supple and looking its best. A cooking classic, we love extra virgin olive oil because it’s also loaded with vitamin E and let’s face it, if it’s cold out, we are eating pasta. Dressed over noodles, salads, etc., this healthy fat packs a serious punch and moisturizes our skin from the inside out. Easy skin solution and oh, so good.
With a packed grocery cart full of wintertime foods that will keep you hydrated and glowing, snag some beauty supplements, too. If you’re looking for an extra boost to increase your glow factor (consult with your doctor before taking any new vitamins, or herbal supplements). My personal favorites that I take (I’m kind of a vitamin junkie)...
Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Plant-based sources include flax oil or purslane (a Barbara Sturm favorite!) these are skin-friendly fats offering a healthy, gorgeous glow and a crucial part of your skin’s lipid (fat) content, which seals in moisture and keeps irritants out! Total hydration from the inside out while increasing firmness and skin’s elasticity. Your skin will glow and so will your hair, a nice added bonus with fish oils
Vitamin D: contributes to skin cell growth and repair. Healthy skin normally means hydrated skin and vitamin D helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging. The body produces vitamin D on its own through sun exposure, so it’s very easy to become deficient especially during the cooler winter months when we’re stuck indoors with Netflix. Danuta Mieloch (owner of Rescue Spa) encourages her clients and herself to take a higher dose of vitamin D during the winter months to make sure skin is kept in tip-top shape and healthy for optimum hydration. Bonus: she drinks hot lemon water with ginger to keep colds away (we love her).
Zinc: one of my favorite supplements to take, not only does this tiny pill strengthen your immune system, it assists in calming blemish-prone skin and soothes dry, irritated, and itchy skin during wintertime by controlling inflammatory reactions – keeping skin soothed and unflakey, says Paula Simpson, a holistic beauty expert and co-founder of ZSS Skincare. Zinc promotes healthy skin that renews itself, so bye-bye, dry skin! Pick-up zinc picolinate, it’s the most absorbent form of zinc, packing a seriously strong punch.
Vitamin E: obviously vitamin E is on this list, it’s one of the most hydrating vitamins to take for gorgeous glowing skin. For starters, it’s an antioxidant, it neutralizes damaging free radicals and is nicknamed the “protector” in the skincare world. It helps fade away scars, slows down the aging process, and acts as a natural internal moisturizer for the body. Vitamin E lives in and protects cell membranes, which form a barrier around our cells to keep them healthy and hydrated, which is how it keeps skin so moisturized and supple.
Vitamin B3: lastly, this vitamin not only hydrates our skin, but it helps to fade away dark spots and old acne scars. It increases the production of ceramides and fatty acids – two key components of our skin’s protective outer barrier. When this outside wall is strengthened, our skin can better adapt to colder temperatures, keeping moisture locked inside and irritants out. It works wonders for dry or sensitive skin, says, Leslie S. Baumann, MD, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute.
Incorporating these wintertime eats, vitamins and supplements into your daily rituals will make a strong impact on your skin’s hydration levels, not to mention you will be glowing more. One last thing to throw into your cart – dark chocolate – you’ve earned it and it’s antioxidant rich, another no-brainer.