Dr. Kassam Superfoods for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Easy Tips for the Winter to Keep Your Hair and Skin Looking Beautiful

Written By: Dr. Saira Kassam, ND

    There are a lot of great things to look forward to about the fall and winter months - Cuddling with warm blankets, movies by the fireplace, hot chocolate after a long day, cozy wool sweaters, knee-high boots and the list goes on! Unfortunately, with the cold weather and dry air come the dry skin, dry hair and brittle nails. (Uh-Oh!)

    With constant exposure to central heat and the cold air outside our skin receives less moisture. This results in chapped lips, dry/cracked/red skin. There are definitely some things we can do to minimize the lack of moisture and combat dry skin. For example, (1) avoid long hot baths and opt for quick/warm showers. Treat hair with a mix of  (2) coconut, castor and jojoba oil. Simply massage your scalp and make sure to get the ends! Do this 1-2x a week to keep the moisture locked in and avoid dry split ends. (3) Keep hydrated! Dehydrated skin is common in winter. We need to keep our skin hydrated from the inside out. Remember the skin is an organ of elimination and it needs water to properly perform its duties. So make sure you are upping your water intake. If you do not enjoy the taste of plain water try adding some mint, lemon, cucumber slices or some raspberries to add some flavour!

    There are also quite a few things we can do in the kitchen to keep our hair, skin and nails looking and feeling great! Eating tons of fruits and veggies throughout the day can provide you with antioxidants that reverse the damage of free radicals in your body. Free radicals can be caused by pollution, diet, and stress. Antioxidants help to reverse this damage. When you think of antioxidants, think of fruits and veggies with lots and lots of colour!

Here is a list of foods you can pick up on your next grocery run:

  • Acai Berries – High in Calcium, fibre, phytochemicals, protein and Vitamin A. Antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals can prevent premature aging
  • Avocados – High in calcium, fibre, iron, protein, Vitamin A, C, E, and K. These help to protect the skin from harmful oxidative damage
  • Beets – High in fibre, folate, Manganese and Vitamin C. They can stimulate the production and repair of skin cells which help to prevent premature aging
  • Blueberries – High in fibre, manganese, phytochemicals, Vitamin C and K. Antioxidants are a great source of anthocyanin’s that help to prevent free radical damage and help to keep the skin firm
  • Brazil Nuts – High in calcium, copper, magnesium, selenium, thiamine and Vitamin E. Nuts are full of skin-boosting goodness. Selenium helps to keep skin glowing by speeding up the cell turnover process
  • Chia SeedsFull of fibre and Omega-3. They help the body to eliminate waste and toxins through your digestive tract. It can be added to so many things!
  • Hemp Seeds – High in iron, Magnesium, Protein and Zinc. These are a great source of essential fatty acids which are great for skin
  • Matcha Green Tea – High in Chlorophyll, iron, protein, Vitamin A. Powerful antioxidants and the high chlorophyll content can help the body detoxify and get rid of harmful toxins. Green tea also contains EGCG, which is an antioxidant that slows down the degeneration of skin cells
  • PomegranateHigh in copper, folate, potassium and Vitamins B6, C, E, K. These are the anti-ageing powerhouses! They contain high levels of antioxidants that nourish skin cells
  • Goji BerriesHigh in calcium, copper, iron phytochemicals, Selenium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. They contain high levels of antioxidants to help protect the skin cells from damage and premature aging

    Don’t forget to take this list with you the next time a grocery run is due! Make sure to incorporate these superfoods into your meals and enjoy plump looking skin, heavy hair and shiny nails even in the dry winter months! 

     Below I have added two of my favourite superfood recipes that are simple, quick and easy to have every day! Give them a try!

Pomegranate, Strawberry and Chia Smoothie

  1. 1 Tbsp Chia seeds
  2. 1.5 Cups Frozen strawberries
  3. 1.5 cups of Pomegranate juice

Directions: Soak the chia seeds in 1 cup of water for 30-35 mins. Blend the strawberries and pomegranate juice together in a blender. Pour in soaked chia seeds and blend. Sprinkle with some ground cinnamon and enjoy!

Spiced Mixed Nuts:

  1. 2 cups of mixed raw nuts (Almonds, peanuts, walnuts and/or brazil nuts)
  2. 2 tbsp of honey
  3. 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  4. 3 tbsp of coconut sugar
  5. ¼ tsp of sea salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350o F. In a large mixing bowl, mix the nuts with the dry and wet ingredients. Mix well and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.