There is a certain irony that hydration advice and information is well covered in the summer, when we hardly need to be reminded to have a cold drink to cool us down.
By Lee Sandford
There is a certain irony that hydration advice and information is well covered in the summer, when we hardly need to be reminded to have a cold drink to cool us down. Water is essential for maintaining the body’s equilibrium for essential functions, which is clearly not a seasonal issue, and the damaging effects of dry winter air on one’s skin are particularly noticeable in our Northeast climate.
After many weeks of this tough winter, our winter funk doesn’t just show in our surly expressions, our dull skin shows that it’s suffering too. Show your skin some TLC to help it through to the other side the winter, simply through your diet.
Water, water, water! There are very few studies disputing that people should be drinking at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day, and those few aren’t in fact proving that wrong, merely questioning the scientific basis behind that exact amount. But 8 x 8 was catchy, and, according to another easy-to-remember gauge recently touted by dietitians as likely too little for most adults. Their recommendation is drink half your body weight!
Don’t panic, you convert the pounds to ounces, i.e., a 160-pound adult should drink 80 ounces of water each day. Common thinking is that most people are shy of the lower measures, never mind the newer amount.
I like to think I’m good at drinking enough water purely because I’ve created habits which make it effortless. I am proud to report that I replaced my old morning Diet Coke vice with drinking a pint of water, and then I have two pints with my lunch, so I’m well on my way. (I don’t count what I drink when I’m working out, because that’s just directly replacing fluids lost that hour.)
It’s a simple resolution to create good water consumption habits at home or by keeping a flask at the water cooler at work. To make it less boring, make a couple of your pints of water tastier — and add a few vitamins — by adding fruit juice. How do you think the new reduced-calorie orange juice brands are managing that? Just by diluting the juice. So make your own instead. Pomegranate and cranberry are two juices whose antioxidants regulate blood flow for rosier skin.
Super Easy Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash
Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel and cube the butternut squash. Place the squash, apples, and onion pieces on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until soft. When ready, transfer to a pot, add the rest of the ingredients, except the pumpkin seeds, and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
Heat and serve. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Among the foods recommended for healthy skin: oily foods like salmon, avocado, and of course olive oil; foods with a high water content, such as peppers, celery, and tomatoes; and foods with beta carotene, like carrots, sweet potato, and butternut squash. (The body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, the vitamin associated most with healthy skin.)
All the above are typically high on lists of skin-friendly foods, but there are many more and plenty that weren’t as intuitive as those. Sunflower seeds, for example, make a few experts’ because of their high Vitamin E content (which protects the skin from sun damage) and high essential fatty acid content. Coconut milk seems to crop up in any research I do on healing powers of food and for skin it came up as an internal and external remedy, being rich in Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and natural proteins which all contribute to a smooth skin. And the humble apple was top of one list for its Vitamin C content (improves firmness of skin).
It was great timing that with the skin-food research in my head, I attended a Clean Eating Boot Camp by local mom Ania Dunlop. The workshop focused on food for overall wellness, but I thought it was interesting how many of the ingredients were crossovers from the reading I’d being doing.
Ania is a proponent of juicing and smoothies, which you can pack full of all sorts of immunity-giving ingredients.
With my Scottish roots and in this weather, I’m more of a soup gal and was giddy that there was a soup containing loadsof the super-skin ingredients I’d just been reading about. With Ania’s permission here is the recipe. (See her website for more ideas: www.foodforzen.com.)