If plummeting temperatures have left skin, mood and energy levels flagging, feed yourself well again with the wellbeing entrepreneur’s favourite winter pick-me-ups
For glowing winter skin...
Nuts and seeds
Excellent sources of vitamin E, nuts and seeds are one of the best foods for glowing skin. Almonds are one of my all-time favourite skin-friendly foods; just a small handful of protein-rich almonds contains half of our recommended daily intake of the skin-saving antioxidant vitamin E. I pop them into as many dishes as I can – any recipe that calls for other nuts – or sprinkle them onto cereals, yoghurts and salads for an extra beauty boost.
Yoghurt and kefir
Thanks to their high levels of healthy bacteria in yoghurt, this fermented milk is not only delicious but also very useful for keeping skin radiantly clear and our gut in good health. A healthy gut boosts skin-friendly flora, which in turn leads to smoother, clearer skin. One of my favourite skin food tips is to drink kefir , a super-yoghurt drink, made when kefir grains (a type of fermentation starter) are added to milk or similar liquids.
Eggs are one of the most perfect forms of skin-friendly protein – and the organic, free-range kind provides a powerhouse of vital nutrients to help plump our skin. Eggs are also a good source of selenium, essential in the manufacture of collagen to support our skin as we age, leading to plumper, younger-looking skin.
For strengthening defences...
Containing high levels of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin C, kale is excellent for boosting our immune system in the winter. Vitamin C helps our bodies heal when we have a small cut or graze, while beta-carotene helps create healthy skin and a strong immune system, as well as converting into vitamin A for good vision and eye health. One of my favourite winter kale recipes is a delicious red Thai curry with chickpeas, sweet potato and kale – perfect for getting you through a busy day and packed full of wholesome goodness!
Traditionally harvested from October to February, pomegranates also house vitamins A and C, which together help to ward off the common cold. As an added boost, pomegranates contain compounds that are thought to extend the life of collagen-producing cells, so this tasty fruit may also have a role to play in keeping our skin plump and line free. I like to use fresh pips to pep up my winter salads or sprinkle them on sweet potatoes - delicious!
The smallest (and seedless) member of the East Asian mandarin orange family, clementines are packed with antioxidant vitamin C. An ideal snack to have on the go, I’ll often slip one or two into my bag before heading out. Easy for little hands to peel, they’re a much healthier treat option than the sweetie jar.
For boosting energy and mood...
Thanks to their strong levels of folate (folic acid), avocados are beneficial for both mind and body. Depression has been linked to low folate levels and studies show supplements have a positive effect on cognitive function when depressed. One of my favourite ways to start a busy day is with my avocado egg cup recipe – perfect for either a breakfast solo or enjoying a social brunch time feast with friends.
Studies have shown that the glycyrrhizin in liquorice may help support the adrenal glands, leading to reduced stress within the body. So, drinking a soothing cup of liquorice tea at stressful times can make a big difference. You can even try chewing on a liquorice root stick for a sugar-free aniseedy snack.
The complex variety of B vitamins in beetroot means that your body can release energy steadily throughout the day, which reduces tiredness and helps us to perform at our best – whether it be a brisk walk in the sunshine or a session of core-building exercises. Beetroot is an ideal addition to winter salads and one of my favourites is a hot smoked salmon salad with beetroot and horseradish.
And not forgetting...
Chocolate is often the first thing we think about cutting out of our diet; but a little of the good stuff – with a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa solids – is actually really good for you and your skin! Dark chocolate’s high-cocoa content has been shown to increase blood circulation to the upper layers of the skin. These added blood vessels can help provide the healthy oxygenation your skin needs to help protect itself and give a youthful glow.