As it gets chillier, you may notice the cooler weather has begun to wreak havoc on your skin, hair and nails. While cold temperatures can definitely play a role in this, it’s also possible that your diet has something to do with it.
Nutrient deficiencies can sometimes show up in the form of hair loss, dry skin or brittle nails. Therefore, consuming the right nutrients can help you maintain healthy skin, hair and nails throughout winter. Here are a few foods you may want to incorporate into your diet this season.
Blueberries provide your skin with wonderful benefits. “Eating blueberries regularly can give you youthful-looking skin and brighten up dull or sun-damaged skin,” says Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LD at Nutrition Connections in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida. Plus, the nutrients found in blueberries help to counteract acne and strengthen the capillaries just beneath the skin to protect against spider veins, she says.
Beyond nourishing your skin, blueberries also are great for your hair. “They nourish hair follicles and promote strong, healthy hair,” Aguirre says. Plus, plant chemicals in blueberries called proanthocyanidins may help to stimulate hair growth.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C, which has been found to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by increasing production of collagen and therefore, making your skin appear more plump, says Beth Auguste MS RD CSOWM, Registered Dietitian and owner of Be Well with Beth LLC in Philadelphia.
This vegetable also provides protection for your hair from toxins and, as mentioned above, helps you produce collagen, which is necessary for hair production, says Aguirre.
“Eggs are filled with nutrients — skin boosting vitamin A and E as well as vitamin B5,” says Aguirre. Vitamin B5 helps support healthy skin function and protective barriers.
In addition, whole cooked eggs are a good source of biotin, a necessary component in the process of making hair, skin, and nails, says Auguste. Note that raw egg whites can block your body’s ability to absorb biotin, she adds, so make sure to cook them thoroughly.
Salmon is rich in biotin, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin D aids in skin cell growth and repair as well as helps to prevent premature aging, Aguirre says. The omega-3 fatty acids provide your skin and hair with a natural moisturizer.
“Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce skin itching and scaliness,” Auguste says. “Eat adequate omega-3 fats to help your skin maintain its healthy glow.”
Salmon also contains selenium and copper, which help in the production of collagen — boosting nail growth.
Another great source of selenium are nuts, a trace mineral the helps boost hair and scalp health, Aguirre says.
“Selenium is also an antioxidant that stimulates the immune system,” she says, “to protect against skin cancer.”
As for other types of nuts, walnuts and almonds are excellent nutrient sources for your skin, hair, and nails too.
Many people know that carrots are good for your eyes, but they also keep your skin healthy due to their high beta carotene content.
“This antioxidant attacks free radicals and can prevent wrinkles and uneven skin tone,” says Aguirre. “Carrots contain the carotenoids beta carotene and lycopene — both may shield your skin from UV damage.”
Carrots also improve blood circulation, she adds, which can yield stronger hair and nails as well as improve skin's radiance.