As we head towards the shortest day of the year, our Winter Solstice falls on June 20, it’s time to settle into more comforting, nurturing winter routines. With shorter, colder days we can stay healthy and looking fresh by making a few simple changes.
Come home to healthy, ready to eat stews
Consider a slow cooker or crockpot for winter dinners. Set the pot timer before you leave in the mornings and come home to a slow, beautifully cooked stew that’s packed with skin restoring vitamins and proteins. Load the pot with legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans and soybeans) for protein; they’re also low fat, high fibre, and low GI.
Add winter vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and kale for delicious flavours that are also high in Vitamins C and A. These vitamins are necessary for healthy skin growth and repair at the cellular level, like building collagen and maintaining healthy sebaceous glands. These glands ensure our skin is hydrated and protected against winter dryness.
Healthy Skin Needs Vitamin D and essential Omega 3 fatty acids
With fewer daylight hours and long commutes, winter can mean less Vitamin D from sun exposure. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are good sources of vitamin D, important for skin healing and protecting against skin cancer. They are also an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, considered essential because our bodies can’t produce them. Eating oily fish twice a week, along with leafy vegetable, nuts, flax seeds and vegetable oils supply us with Omega 3 fatty acids.
These help keep the top outer layer of our skin strong and whole, which then acts as a barrier against external toxins and pollutants. Low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids can result in dry, irritated and acne prone skin. Dry skin can lead to cell damage, inflammation, and infections, a cycle that is particularly hard to break during winter. Eat those leafy greens and healthy oils; your skin needs them for protection and moisture.
Jojoba and Rosehip oil – the ‘power couple’ of skincare
While warm nutritious food keeps us healthy on the inside, you can nourish your skin from the outside with natural oils. Rosehip oil is pressed from the hip of the rose. It’s the brown fruit left once the rose has bloomed and lost its petals. Known for protecting and moisturising skin it contains powerful antioxidants and Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids.
It’s also very high in vitamin A. When combined with jojoba oil these amazing nutrients are carried deep into the skin. This is because jojoba has the unique ability to penetrate beyond the skin’s surface layers. Jojoba & Rosehip oil are the ‘power couple’ of skincare, combining the best nutrients with the ultimate in hydration.
Adding Winter Herbs
Adding ‘warming herbs’ to your food and drinks can help increase blood flow and create a warming sensation throughout your body. It brings nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the surface to nourish skin, giving you a warm glow. They also can stimulate the immune system. Ginger and garlic are two well-known ‘warming herbs’.
A lovely winter herbal tea contains slices of fresh ginger, honey and lemon covered in boiling water. Other winter herbs include cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom.
Constant runny nose, cough and congestion? Could be winter mould
Shorter, colder days, rain and increase use of humidifiers mean that moulds and mildew (fungus) flourish in the winter. Add poor ventilation, damp bathrooms and laundries and mould can become a health problem. Some allergic symptoms can feel cold-like, but never really clear. These include runny nose, cough, congestion and also asthma/respiratory infections, fatigue, nausea, headaches and dermatitis.
Try improving ventilation (open windows), and wiping surfaces with vinegar. Mould and mildew do not thrive in dry conditions. With the cause under control, you can focus on healing. For dermatitis jojoba oil is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic, so it is great for soothing and healing skin conditions.
Combine comforting, vitamin-packed meals with deeply moisturising, nutrient-packed natural skincare for skin that will glow with health through those harsh winter months.