one green planet
one green planet

Itchy skin, cracked lips, and dry, sensitive hands — unfortunately these unpleasant issues are back in our lives as the cold winds and harsh winter weather creeps up on us. This means it’s time to take special care of our skin.

While using homemade natural products such as these DIY Body Scrubs for Oily and Dry Skin Types or this DIY Coconut Aloe Skin Lotion can help a great deal with soothing our dry skin, eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals that contribute to building up our skin’s protective layers shouldn’t be neglected either. In fact, when it comes to combating dry and flaky skin, what we eat is paramount. Did you know that deficiencies in certain micronutrients, such as vitamin E and zinc, can actually cause dryness, breakouts, and other skin issues? They do, which means that protecting our skin can be as easy as eating the right foods.

Not sure where to start? Eating any of these eight delicious and healthy foods on a regular basis will help you have silky-smooth skin through fall and winter:

1. AvocadoBaked and Stuffed Avocados With Cashew Queso and Sausage

Even if you don’t like guac, you have to agree that avocado reigns supreme when it comes to getting our fair share of healthy fats on a plant-based diet. For this reason, this creamy fruit is at the top of the list for treating dry skin. Why? Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids (found in high amounts in avocados) in our diet is important to help our skin cells maintain our lipid membrane, which ensures our skin retains its moisture and smoothness.

There are many ways you can include this good kind of fat into your meals, but some of our favorites are these Baked and Stuffed Avocados With Cashew Queso and Sausage, this Grilled Avocado With Roasted Tomatoes, this Spicy Cucumber Avocado Onion Salad, and this Smashed White Bean Avocado and Basil Sandwich. You can also try out this Avocado Pumpkin Panini With Caramelized Onions and this Savory Mushroom Avocado Toast.

2. Shiitake Mushrooms

If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you may want to rethink your stance because it turns out that fungi can do wonders for our skin. Shiitake mushrooms are especially high in pantothenic acid (also called vitamin B5), which plays an important role in the production of keratinocytes cells. These cells contribute to keeping your skin moisturized and healthy by maintaining its natural protective barriers. In fact, emollients often contain vitamin B5 due to its ability to repair and re-hydrate dry skin.

Want to get the needed vitamin B5 to replenish your skin? We suggest giving this Roasted Shiitake With Celeriac Potato Purée, this Shiitake Mushroom Pho, and this delicious Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee a try. You also have to make this Creamy Veggie Carbonara With Shiitake Bacon and this Pumpkin Sage Rigatoni With Shiitake Bacon!

3. SpinachBroccoli and Spinach Tart

Popeye’s favorite food is one you should include in your diet regularly if you want your skin to be strong and resistant against the negative effects of harsh weather. Indeed, spinach is pretty awesome when it comes to protecting us from dryness as it contains a high amount of zinc. This mineral has a crucial role in helping with the absorption of essential fatty acids which nourishes our skin. Also, zinc promotes the reproduction of skin cells and the healing of wounds. Last but not least, deficiencies in zinc doesn’t only make your skin scaly, it can actually lead to skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.

Get your fill of zinc with this Broccoli and Spinach Pâté Tart, this Smoked Tofu and Artichoke Spinach Sandwich, and this Chickpea Spinach Stew With Lentils and Quinoa. You can also check out these 10 Flavorful Ways to Cook Spinach if you need inspiration.

4. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are one of our fall favorites — how can they not with their vibrant orange flesh and comforting flavors? Their benefits for our skin is only one more thing to add to the list of why we love them so much! Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C, both of which play an important role in skin renewal and the production of collagen (what makes our skin glowy and supple). These vitamins also contribute to protecting our skin from dryness by their antioxidant effects, scavenging inflammation-causing free-radicals.

Sweet potatoes are great on their own but they truly shine in recipes like these Sweet Potato Bites With Guacamole and Cauliflower, this Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Brown Butter Sage Sauce, and this Sweet Potato and Tomato Red Lentil Dal. You can also try any of these delicious 15 Must-Make Vegan Sweet Potato Dinners.

5. Sunflower SeedsSunflower Seed Pate b

Sunflower seeds are notorious for being a great snack but did you know that they’re a powerhouse of nutrition and are amazing for your skin? These little seeds are rich in iron, folate, zinc, selenium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin E and B-vitamins, both of which are essential to maintaining and strengthening our skin membranes, which helps them retain moisture.

You can reap the skin-moisturizing benefits of sunflower seeds by eating a handful everyday or using them to make delicious recipes like this Sunflower Seed Pâté, this Mushroom Stuffed Cannelloni With Sunflower Seed Cream, these Italian Sunflower Seed and Chickpea ‘Meatballs’, and this Sunflower Seed Halva.

6. MangoSpicy Mango Tofu Tacos 3

This exotic fruit is truly one of the greats when it comes to protecting our skin. Did you know that mangoes contain twice the amount of vitamin C found in an orange? They do! For this reason, they’re a great pick if you want to get rid of dry skin. Vitamin C is essential to the synthesis of collagen and has been found to prevent trans-epidermal water loss. In other words, it helps your skin retain its moisture.

Want to include more delicious and hydrating mangoes into your diet? We suggest trying this Spicy Mango Tofu Tacos, this Cuban Black Bean Mango Bowl, this Mango Beet Sushi, and this Coconut-Mango Stew With Homemade Naan Bread. You’ll also Fall in Love with Mango, the World’s Most Popular Fruit, With These 15 Vegan Recipes!

7. OatsMaple Oat and Nut Baked Pears 1

Besides being a nutritious breakfast option, oats can do wonders for our skin. How? Well, they’re a great source of B-vitamins and biotin. These vitamins play an important role in the production of new skin cells and the proper functioning of oil glands, both of which are vital to combat dryness and other skin issues. In fact, a deficiency in biotin can lead to atopic dermatitis, eczema, and dandruff.

Get your fill of oats by making these Maple Oat and Nut Baked Pears, these Quinoa and Oat Breakfast Fruit Rolls, this Chinese Oatmeal, or this Lentil Oat Meatloaf. We also recommend Starting Your Day With These 15 Vegan Oatmeal Dishes.

8. Walnuts

We love the crunch and taste of these babies but we love the benefits they have on our skin even more. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s (they provide 95 percent of our RDA in fatty acids!), manganese, copper, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. Their content in alpha-linoleic acid is of special significance as these fatty acids strengthen the membranes of our skin cells, locking up moisture and preventing skin irritation. They also contain ellagic acid, a type of antioxidant that is protective against UV damage and photo-aging of our skin. Who would’ve thought that only a handful of walnuts could benefit our skin this much?

If you’re looking for creative ways to include walnuts into your meals, we suggest you try out this Savory Walnut and Mushroom Bolognese, this Pumpkin Coconut Soup With Walnut Gremolata, this Lemon and Walnut Linguine With Roasted Broccoli, and this amazing Walnut and Mushroom Meatball Sub.

Recommended Resources and Recipes to Get You StartedSweet Potato and Bean Burrito With Plantains and Guacamole

Want to find more info and recipes that will help you get rid of dry skin once and for all? Here are a few articles that might interest you:

Also, if you want to find more delicious recipes that will smooth your skin from the inside out, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Broccoli and Spinach Pâté Tart