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Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter Weather

Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter Weather

If you live in a place where the mercury has dropped enough for  snow to start falling, chances are you’re also starting to deal with “winter skin” right about now: cheeks are getting rough and dry, lips are chapping… and depending on the severity of the weather outside, skin can even flake, crack, or erupt into hives or eczema. This just isn’t a season that’s kind to skin at all. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the damage caused by freezing winds, snow, and hail, and a few of these handy techniques are listed below.

Change Your Moisturizer

The lightweight moisturizer you use in summertime isn’t going to cut it during the winter. To fend off cold damage to your skin in winter, opt for creams that have a heavier oil content, as the oils will create a protective layer on the skin’s surface. Creams rich in avocado or sweet almond oil are ideal for your face, but try to avoid using cocoa or shea butter on facial skin, as it can clog pores.  If you’re prone to breakouts, talk to an aesthetician or dermatologist who can recommend a cream that’s right for your skin type.

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Don’t forget that the skin on your entire body needs special care at this time of year: though you’ll see and feel the damage cold weather can cause to hands and feet (roughness, cracking around knuckles and cuticles, etc.) you might not notice dry patches on your legs or arms until they start to itch or flake. This is where the cocoa and shea butters come in: a good body lotion will replenish the moisture in your limbs as well as your cheeks, leaving you soft and supple all over.

Speaking of cream…

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Sunscreen

If you spend a lot of time outside, don’t forget to wear sunscreen! Your skin can be subjected to just as much UV damage in wintertime as in summer, so don’t hesitate to put on a layer of SPF 15 before putting on your makeup.

Exfoliate

Gentle exfoliation once a week will help to remove dry, dead skin from your cheeks and forehead, but don’t go overboard with it! Your skin takes a lot of damage from the weather outside, and scouring it too much will actually increase wear and tear, and will do more harm than good.

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For the rest of your body, a homemade exfoliant such as a salt or sugar scrub can do wonders to slough off dead skin cells and leave you soft and smooth all over.

Wear Lip Balm

The skin on your lips is the thinnest and most sensitive on your entire body, so be sure to take proper care of them by protecting them from cold damage—that means you too, guys. It’s not a lot of fun to kiss someone whose lips are flaking apart like a dry old phone book. Aim for unflavoured lip balms with a carnauba or beeswax base (stick to the former if you’re vegan), and apply it regularly. It’s best to avoid using petroleum jelly as a lip balm, though; you really don’t want an oil industry by-product on your face, do you? Besides, petroleum jelly isn’t absorbed by the skin: it just sits on top of it, and can clog up pores rather thoroughly. Skin can’t absorb any moisture if it’s congested with oil slurry gel.

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Shorten Your Bath Time

Have you ever gotten out of a hot bath after soaking for a while and realised that you were desperately thirsty? It’s likely because immersing yourself in hot water for long periods of time can actually deplete your body of moisture. Soaking in a hot bath can be absolutely blissful in this weather, but either try to keep your wallowing time to a minimum, or don’t make the water too hot. Scalding showers can also suck a fair bit of moisture out of you, so try to keep them short as well.

Stay Hydrated

Even though drinking water doesn’t moisturize your skin directly, it keeps your cells in top working order, which reflects in every area of your life—skin cells included. Flushing toxins out of your body with plenty of fluids will often keep you from breaking out as well.

Taking just a couple of these precautions should make a significant difference in the health of your skin in winter. Eating properly and getting regular sleep will improve your overall well-being—which will be reflected in the state of your skin—and wearing proper outerwear such as gloves and scarves when traipsing about in the snow will help protect your skin from nose to toes.

Featured photo credit:  winter girl behind snow tree via Shutterstock

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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