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Winter foods for healthy skin

That we are majorly in love with Julia Child is no secret. And our friends will tell you, how we absolutely live to eat. So naturally come winter, you will find us more agreeable and happy (not just because the air is nippy, and the sun, a happy warm) but because it’s the season of our favourite foods, including gajar ka halwa.

Julia Child Portrait ©Lynn Gilbert, 1978

Haven't you noticed that you feel hungrier in the winter months? Well, that’s because nature's trying to balance the lower temperature and humidity outside with an increase in digestion and therefore heat generation within the body. Of course, it also brings with it the exasperating struggle with dry skin, rough splitting hair, chapped lips and heels, and the small joys where you are allowed to eat some of the foods little more than you otherwise get away with.

What are these? Say, good fats in nuts, seeds, cold pressed oils and ghee. An extra portion will work well for you inside and out. We don’t have to tell you, you already know what you consume shows on your skin. So almonds and groundnuts (think chikkis), sesame seeds (as salad or stir fry dressing), flaxseed oil or olive oil (as salad dressing), is a good thing this season. Then there’s ghee, made from cow’s milk, known to produce heat in the body, and is therefore good for your joints and skin in winter.

Is it just us, or do you also feel that your soul is brimming with love when you smell the delicious aroma of baked goodies wafting out of your kitchen? We think winters are perfect for all those slow cooked, broiled or baked recipes. So fix yourself that slow cooked soup with wholesome grains like millets, lentils, root vegetables like carrots and white radish, and even some starchy roots like potato and yam. Temper it with cumin and asafoetida, we promise you it’ll be delicious. If you wish to fix a quick weeknight dinner, we suggest you stir fry some carrots, beetroots and broccoli in mustard oil, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top. A good balanced meal for your skin health is right there.

For those little breaks between work, try infusing your herbal tea with ginger, basil, lemon grass, cardamom, pepper and honey. All of these spices improve digestion, and make you less prone to acidity. Oh, and that sprinkling of cinnamon on your coffee feels extra special in winters, isn’t it? While on beverages, we must tell you about this ancient miracle drink we just discovered - kanji made of carrots, beetroot and mustard seeds soaked in water and fermented under the sun for a week. It is a super probiotic that keeps both, our gut and skin happy.

Then there are the green leaves. There isn’t a season where they don’t do you good. The power house of antioxidants that they are, they always help in fighting free radicals, and we all know why it’s so important for our skin - they help in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Winter fruits like oranges and lime, with their high dose of vitamin C do their generous bit in collagen production and promoting skin’s elasticity.

But here’s the thing. The tiny asterisk that we need to bear in mind, whether while buying skincare or while taking dietary advice. A lot depends on individual constitution (or situation) here. Much like our lives we would say. Just like we tell you folks about introducing one skin formulation at a time to your skin, you would do well trying one thing at a time. This is of course not an exhaustive list of winter foods that are great for healthy skin and hair. There is a lot more you could add in there, but as long as it is warm, wholesome and made with love, we are sure it will work.

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