There’s little doubt about it: The holidays are often a time of indulgence. While we may be enjoying foods that are more decadent than what we usually eat, the high sugar, salt, and saturated fats in these foods can make us feel sluggish and lead to lackluster skin, breakouts, and inflammation.
But taking care of your skin doesn’t mean missing out on all the deliciousness the holidays have to offer! Choose these healthy fats for your holiday meal, and get ready to reap their skin-loving benefits.
Why your skin needs healthy fats
For anyone looking to cut out unhealthy foods, fats are often the first to go. We swap French fries or sweets for raw veggies or fruit smoothies, and we know these are healthy decisions. But when it comes to fats, they’re not all created equal. In fact, the healthy ones aren’t just “ok” for us to have; they’re a crucial part of our skin health.
According to Organic Spa Magazine, ingesting healthy fats encourages our skin to retain moisture, helping to plump up skin’s surface and creating smoother texture.
As if that’s not enough of a reason to want to incorporate them into your diet, healthy fats also fortify cell membranes, retain elasticity and suppleness—and that means fewer wrinkles and firmer looking skin tone.
What’s more, when you add healthy fats to your diet, you’ll improve the absorption of antioxidants that prevent UV damage, which can lead to premature aging and even skin cancer.
Add these fats to your holiday meal—and all year round
“Adding just a few key foods to your holiday meal is a delicious and nutritious way to up your healthy fat intake this holiday,” notes Sarah Mirsini, founder of MASK CBD Skincare.
“Once you find the foods rich in healthy fats that you enjoy—maybe it will be all of them!—you can work them into not just your holiday meal, but into your regular diet. This, coupled with gentle, natural skincare products like MASK skin care, can help your skin really reach its healthy-looking, radiant potential.”
Rich in Vitamin E, nuts deliver protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants to help skin combat oxidative stress from free radicals that can prematurely age skin. Almonds and hazelnuts are high in Vitamin E, and pair beautifully with holiday dishes.
If no one at your holiday table has nut allergies, sprinkle some hazelnuts on top of your roasted Brussels sprouts for a decadent flavor and satisfying crunch. Or, toast some slivered almonds for a topping on green beans or a green salad. (We love them paired with in-season pomegranate seeds on salad!)
Brazil nuts are also a healthy option. Rich in selenium, a powerful antioxidant, selenium plays well with Vitamins E and C to support not only your skin, but your immune system—something which can’t be overlooked during cold, flu, and COVID season. According to goodfoodbbc.com, “just four nuts will provide the recommended daily amount” of selenium.
We know that olive oil is a key part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, and using it on salads, fish, or to cook with is a great way to boost your healthy fat intake.
But other oils like avocado and grapeseed oils are also excellent choices for cooking because they not only have a mild, neutral flavor, they also have a high smoke point—meaning they can withstand higher cooking temperatures without smoking you out of your kitchen. A bonus when you have a house full of company for the holidays!
Fish rich in Omega-3
Fatty or oilier fish like salmon and mackerel are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, thought to help reduce inflammation throughout the body, promote cardiac health, regulate oil production in the skin and help it retain moisture, soothe irritation, and help reduce signs of aging.
Our bodies do not produce Omega-3s on their own, so choosing a diet rich in these beneficial fatty acids can go a long way in helping to keep us healthy—and healthy looking!
Baked salmon with dill and lemon makes a great meal for the holidays, and any other night of the year.
Just make sure it's wild caught and not farmed!
Flax or chia seeds
If you’re a vegetarian or just aren’t keen on eating fish, flax and chia seeds are also great ways to get Omega-3s in your diet. Throw some into your morning smoothie, make a chia seed pudding for your holiday dessert using seasonal fruits like pears or pumpkins, or sprinkle some over the top of a casserole.
“It’s important to remember that eating well takes time to show up on our skin,” Mirsini reminds us.
“Our skin takes 6 weeks for new cells to emerge on the surface, and it’s possible the benefits to our skin from a healthy diet may take just as long, or slightly longer. Consider a diet rich in healthy fats an investment in the long-term health of your body, and your skin, long after the holidays have faded!”