Culinary Colour Wheel, in coloured pencil, by Nicole Caufield

I don’t know about you, but when winter hits I’m itchy from head to toe.  And my face?  Let’s just say it loses any trace of healthy glow.   Apparently, it need not be so!  This month, Dr. Sarah shares her best nutrition-based tips for maintaining great looking skin, despite the  blah gray days and never-ending cold.   -ed. 

Spring is just around the corner, but after spending the winter months bundled up facing the cold air, your skin may be in need of some TLC.   Did you know that your skin is an outer reflection of your inner health, especially the state of your digestive system?

In fact, skin health is largely determined not by what we put on our skin, but rather by the foods we eat.   For February, remember Just One Thing to get that fresh-faced look for spring: eat a rainbow.  You’ll glow!


Dark green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, kale, and romaine lettuce are a rich source of vitamin A and biotin. Vitamin A helps to keep our sebaceous (oily) glands in check and suppresses the production of androgens such as testosterone, which are often elevated in women with acne. Vitamin A also promotes healthy cell turnover in the skin, preventing the formation of acne blemishes.

Signs of vitamin A deficiency include rough, dry skin often appearing as rough, raised bumps on the back of the arms. Biotin can help with the production of fatty acids in the skin, hydrating your skin from the inside out for a radiant glow. Individuals lacking biotin may experience hair loss and red inflamed skin around the mouth.  (More green is always best.  No contest! – ed.) 


Although we’re often advised to avoid “white foods”, I encourage you to load up on fish, shellfish, cremini and shitake mushrooms, cauliflower and plain low-fat yogurt. These are rich sources of vitamin B5 known to increase levels of glutathione, the most potent antioxidant in the body.


You’re probably familiar with the fact that red and orange foods are rich in vitamin C. Did you know that vitamin C in involved in the production of collagen, a protein with gives our skin that firm appearance? The richest sources of vitamin C include papaya, bell peppers, guava, citrus fruits, and strawberries. (Yay!  These are my faves! -ed.)

Also, be sure to eat these foods raw in order to maximize your intake of vitamin C, which is easily destroyed by heat during cooking. Another red food you’ll want to have, ideally twice a week, is wild-caught Pacific salmon, a rich-source of omega-3 fats which have potent natural anti-inflammatory properties and will nourish and hydrate your skin.


Brown foods such as oysters and pumpkin seeds contain the highest levels of zinc. Zinc is needed for wound healing, has anti-inflammatory effects, and protects the skin from UV radiation.  Zinc deficiency is common and can contribute to poor skin healing, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.  (Read more about zinc deficiency, and tally test yourself  here.)

Another brown superfood is the Brazil nut, an excellent source of selenium which is needed for the production of glutathione, the potent anti-oxidant that can protect your skin from cellular damage and premature aging. You can get your daily recommended intake of selenium by eating 3 Brazil nuts per day.

To learn more about using a natural approach to get glowing skin, including hormone balancing, nutritional supplements and detoxification, register for my upcoming seminar: Glowing From the Inside Out: Nourishing Your Body for Glowing Skin.  (Spaces in Dr. Sarah’s seminars are limited, so register soon! – ed.)



Dr.-Sarah-Vadeboncoeur1Dr. Sarah Vadeboncoeur is a Naturopathic Doctor with a passion for nutrition, health and natural medicine. Sarah enjoys educating and empowering individuals to become active participants in their journey to healthier living. She works with patients to help them make gradual lifestyle changes that contribute to a lifetime of health and well-being, and is currently accepting new patients at the Ottawa Integrative Health Centre.  Sarah strives to lead by example by living a balanced life that includes healthful cooking, reading, running, and yoga.  Learn more about Sarah by visiting www.truehealthND.com.


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