Our beauty and wellness routines can really suffer over the winter months. We’re faced with drier, cooler air that can damage our skin and hair, less exposure to the sun’s vitamin D, and potential carb cravings that can lead to inflammation and weight gain.
It’s the time of year when we turn to lotions and potions for protection and relief, but we shouldn’t forget the secret to natural beauty begins within.
Truly boosting our winter beauty routines means starting in our kitchens with what we call “winter superfoods”—ones that are ripest and at peak nutrition during winter months and support our beauty needs all season long.
Winter superfoods don’t need to be fancy. Any food can be a superfood so long as it is nutrient-dense and boosts wellness. A diet rich in superfoods can enhance our natural healthy glow, slow signs of aging, improve detoxification and protect against certain diseases.
Experiment with these ingredients in healthy versions of comfort foods whether it’s a curry, a warm salad or even a chocolatey dessert.
Known for their tart-sweet taste, cranberries pack a punch of anti-inflammatory powers and age-defying antioxidants. They’re also naturally antibacterial, anticarcinogenic and improve our digestive functioning, making them a vital detox aid.
Cranberries are a holiday favorite that can boost our beauty routines, but only in their purest form. Stay away from sugary cranberry cocktail mixes and canned, jellied cranberries. Instead opt for unsweetened, dried cranberries in trail mixes, or add fresh ones to your morning oatmeal and fruit smoothies.
This hearty crop that lasts up to six months is full of vitamin A precursors α-Carotene and β-Carotene. These precursors convert into the active form of vitamin A. Both are powerful antioxidants that naturally boost our immunities and fight inflammation, cancer and iron deficiency.
Butternut squash is at its best during the winter, helping you build the foundation for glowing, healthy skin, nails and hair.
You can further maximize the benefits of this superfood by choosing squash that is no longer green, as those will have the highest levels of nutrients.
We already know kale is a superfood, saturated with vitamins and minerals.
The vitamin C content alone can help improve the body’s synthesis of collagen, which is a crucial protein for youthful, healthy-looking skin and shiny, strong hair.
While kale can be grown all year round, it’s the frost from winter that adds a sweetness to regularly bitter leaves. This seemingly subtle difference can make a big difference in flavor.
Okay so dark chocolate isn’t exactly a “winter food,” but it’s definitely a staple for its winter beauty benefits.
Regularly consuming small portions of dark chocolate helps fight UV ray damage and boosts skin hydration, which is particularly crucial over the winter months, when many of us forget about using proper sunscreen. Look for chocolate with at least 70% cacao because it will have the highest flavanol content and lowest amount of sugar. Flavanols in cocoa are excellent sources of cell-protection and wrinkle-fighting antioxidants.
Dark chocolate is also full of fiber that increases our self-control against cravings during all those upcoming holiday events. As with anything in life, balance is key. Try a square or two of high-quality, high-percentage dark chocolate after lunch or dinner daily.
Now that you know the secrets of winter superfoods, you can nourish yourself with food that boosts your beauty and protects against the woes of winter. Invite your friends over for a spa night and serve this butternut squash kale curry from The Greatist. Afterward you can truly treat your guests with this antioxidant-rich, totally irresistible dark chocolate bark with dried cranberries and nuts from Serious Eats. Enjoy!