As the silly season approaches, so do the foods we love to treat ourselves with. December is often an endless social calendar of office parties and brunches with long-lost friends. While this human contact does wonders for our mental health, our physical health doesn’t always agree. Copious cocktails and sugary sweets take a toll on our body’s biggest organ - our skin.
Luckily here at Food Matters, we’re all about looking after ourselves in the kindest and gentle way, so we’re putting positive habits in place to nourish our skin all the way through the holiday season.
1. Increase Healthy Fats
Fats have a bad reputation in the public eye, but we know it’s more about quality rather than quantity. Good quality fatty acids are essential for radiant skin and a vibrant glow. Naturally occurring fats like avocado, coconut, cacao, and black sesame oil are delicious both in and on your body.
2. Balance Your Copper
Brittle and wrinkled skin is a common sign of copper deficiency, with slower wound healing and higher inflammation. This vital mineral plays a role in collagen synthesis and is hugely pigmented - it keeps us soft, supple and shining. You’ll find copper in seaweed, nuts and a holiday-favorite, red wine.
3. Top Up Your Zinc
Zinc is another hardworking mineral essential for a vibrant, blemish-free complexion. It is involved in enzymatic reactions throughout the body, including healing wounds and clearing up tissue injury. Due to these properties, zinc is praised for healing acne, fungal infections, small irritations, and sores. It’s also a favorite for protecting our vulnerable skin from sun and pollution damage and reduces free radical production. You can boost your zinc these holidays with pumpkin seeds and seafood, or opt for a supplement if you’re the skin’s not loving the sugary treats.
4. Boost Essential Vitamins; A, D, E, & C
Vitamin A is needed by the body to produce retinol, influencing growth and activity. It has been known to prevent acne and affect skin aging. Vitamin D is synthesized by cholesterol and the sun and is praised for evening skin tone and treating psoriasis. Topical application has also been shown to reduce inflammation. Vitamin E is often busy strengthening immunity, reducing inflammation, fighting free radical damage, and moisturizing the skin through sebum production. Increasing Vitamin C intake, both internally and topically, also gives you bright, luminous and festive skin. A daily dose is rich in antioxidants and vital for strong immunity, skin integrity, and wound healing, as well as being crucial in collagen synthesis, which keeps skin looking supple.
5. Keep The Fibre Coming
Good quality fiber intake is so vital for keeping skin healthy. From providing matter to help our bodies detoxify to regulating the good bacteria in the digestive tract, fibrous foods are essential for vibrant skin. At the root of many skin, concerns lies an often undiagnosed skin disorder, so by taking care of our digestive system, it will, in turn, take care of our greatest and most visible organ.
6. Incorporate Gut Nourishing Foods
So much of the body’s bacteria, good and bad, relates to what’s going on in our gut. When there’s an imbalance or underlying concern, it can come to manifest in our skin. As the days get busier and the to-do list gets longer, it’s easy to forget gut-nourishing foods in your daily diet, but by finding a way to drink some bone broth, guzzle down some fermented foods and rule out the over-processed items - your skin couldn’t be healthier going into the holidays.
7. Boost Your Alkalising Greens
No one wants kale for every meal, but boosting your daily greens intake will help to alkalize your body, rid the extracellular water and cleanse detoxifying pathways to keep up that goddess glow! You may find a way to at some leafy greens into your meals, or you can incorporate a glass of superfoods greens into your morning routine.
8. Rest & Relax
It could be a trip to your favorite day spa, or it might just be an early night to get your full eight hours - stress shows in our skin and there’s nothing more relaxing than tuning out entirely. Give the parasympathetic nervous system a chance to kick back in, and enjoy a tea ritual at the same time.
9. Put Down The Makeup...
...and cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. Recently the double-cleanse method has gained traction in the beauty community for it’s purifying effect on the skin. Invest in a good quality skincare regime that serves your complexion, try switching up the heavy foundation for a tinted SPF, and step away from the makeup when you get the confidence to shine. Give your beautiful skin a chance to breathe.
10. Drink Your Water
Eight glasses a day is what we were always told - although a more accurate measure is 35mL per kg of body weight. Water is essential for almost every function in the body, including replenishing and delivering nutrients to the skin. Water aids in eliminating toxins clogging up your body, and curbs the craving for cans of cola.
11. Include Hydrating Foods
With a lot of our favorite plant-based foods being made up of high water content, upping your fruit and vegetable intake will guarantee increased hydration and a plump face. Give your skin a refreshing drink with foods like cucumbers, celery, chia seeds, avocado, and melons.
12. Whip Up Some Skin-Loving Foods
With the right balance of hydrating, healing and nutrient-rich foods, there’s often a recipe for every occasion that can keep your skin looking brighter than the fairy lights. Snack on them at work, grab them on the go, or even find a way to work them into your holiday feasts - here are a couple of our favorites.