Sunday, January 31, 2010

Go Nuts and Fight Dry Skin

It’s dry where we live. Dry and windy. This is not a good combination for healthy skin. So I am going nuts. Literally.

Nuts—especially walnuts—contain a high level of omega 3 fatty acids, which help moisturize one’s skin. They also offer many other health benefits. Research suggests they lower cholesterol, protect arteries, prevent heart attacks and heart disease, minimize blood clots, control diabetes, and even fight depression (another great reason to eat omega-3 containing nuts in the winter when the blues can set in).

So what kind should you turn to when you’re ready to go nutty?

  • Walnuts contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids among nuts. Research on walnuts shows they also boost the immune system, can aid weight loss, help lower blood sugar levels, and may even help fight cancer.
  • Brazil nuts, butternuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, and even peanuts, also provide some omega 3’s. While almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans offer other heart-healthy benefits, they are not a good source of omega 3’s.

How many nuts a day should you eat?

  • Most sources seem to agree on a handful. Just ¼ cup of walnuts a day will provide you with 2.5 grams of omega 3’s.
  • Pair some walnuts with cheddar cheese cubes, another source of omega 3’s. You could also add in some apple slices for a heart-healthy and “skintastic” snack.
  • *Note: It is difficult to track down an exact recommendation for daily omega-3 amounts. One source said the FDA recommends that consumption not exceed 3 g. a day. Other sources suggest 1,000 mg a day. However, when I researched these claims for myself, I found no FDA dietary recommendation for a specific amount of omega-3 fatty acids (although clinical trials cited on usually used 1-2 g/day, and as much as 12 g/day). The FDA’s website says, “It is also not known how much omega-3 fatty acids a person would need to eat on a regular basis in order to have heart health benefits.” That said, the FDA follows the American Heart Association’s recommendation of eating two servings of fish a week, using oils such as flaxseed, canola, and soybean, and eating nuts such as walnuts.
Other non-nutty tips for banishing dry skin:
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Apply a moisture-barrier out of the shower or bath. Our pediatrician recommends Aquaphor ointment.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer.
  • "'Itis' illnesses, such as dermatitis, are caused by inflammation. Omega 3’s act like anti-inflammatories to help heal and repair the skin. Omega 3’s can be given in supplement form if your children aren’t fond of fish." (from "Winterizing Your Child's Skin" on
Certainly salmon and flaxseed oil are two of the best sources of omega 3's. However, I can buy a whole package of walnuts for the price of one salmon fillet, and I can take them with me anywhere. They’ll fit in my purse or the glove compartment of my van, and I can leave them there for days. I can’t say that about a salmon fillet now, can I?

Visit Works for Me Wednesday for more tips!

1 comment:

  1. I have been hearing more of this probably because this is the worst year we have had with dry skin