You love it when the mercury dips low enough for you to break out your knee-high boots and sexy tights. But there’s nothing fun about chapped lips, lingering fatigue, and other cold-weather bummers.
Cut them all off at the pass by filling your shopping cart withfoods that will fight for your right to look and feel amazing. Researchers agree that these edibles have healing powersthat can help keep you in top shape, inside and out. Startnoshing on them now and your body will never suspect that it’s winter.
Spoon Up: Low-fat cottage cheese
Hair is almost all protein, so attaining a strong, vibrant mane starts with eating enough of it. Reduced-fat cottage cheese is a protein heavyweight, with 14 grams in half a cup.
Pack: Pumpkin seeds
Zinc helps reduce shedding, says Francesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center. Toss a tablespoon of these zinc-heavy seeds into your cereal.
Surf for: Arctic char
This cold-water fish is a great source of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which can improve brain function and ward off the blues, says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Age-Proof Your Body. Omega-3s help squelch inflammation in the brain and regulate feel-good neurotransmitters. Sprinkle fillets with sea salt, ground pepper, and fresh lemon juice, then pan-fry on medium-high until one side is slightly brown. Flip and cook until the inside is slightly pink (6 to 8 minutes total).
Feed the 100 billion neurons in your noggin with nutritious kale. A study in the journal Neurology reports that getting two-plus servings per day of veggies—especially leafy green ones like kale—slows cognitive decline by 40 percent. Temper kale’s bitter flavor by sautéing it lightly with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, a chopped garlic clove, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, and a pinch of salt.
Nosh: Sunflower seeds
Hay fever affects more than 40 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Halt the drip with vitamin E. Researchers suspect it calms the parts of your immune system involved in allergies. With 49 percent of your daily vitamin E needs in an ounce, these seeds are your shnoz’s best friend.
Scramble: Whole eggs
Forgo egg-white omelets. The yolks are an all-star source of two antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that fight cataracts as well as macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. Don’t worry: University of Massachusetts researchers have concluded that eating an average of one egg yolk a day will not hurt your cholesterol levels.
Steam: Orange cauliflower
Yes, that really is orange cauliflower popping up in your produce aisle. Food scientists at Cornell University reworked the white variety to provide 25 times as much beta-carotene, which maintains the protective covering over the cornea. As with any low-cal vegetable, you can enjoy peachy cauliflower with reckless abandon, provided you don’t drown it in salt and fat-laden butter.
Cozy up to your nearest Italian eatery. The fruit is especially beneficial when cooked—more of the carotenoid lycopene makes it into the skin, where it can limit UV damage to lower skin-cancer risk and hold off wrinkles.
Experiment with: Hemp
The omega-3 fatty acids in hemp help your skin retain moisture so you don’t look like a cast member from Dawn of the Dead. Toss a tablespoon each of lemon juice, pine nuts, and shelled hemp seeds ($9 for 8 oz, manitobaharvest.com) into a blender with ³ cup of hemp-seed oil ($10 for 8 oz, manitobaharvest.com), a chopped garlic clove, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup fresh basil. Whirl to create a delicious and healthy pesto.
Munch On: Walnuts
To get moist, beautiful, chap-free lips, your body needs to constantly replace old skin cells with new ones. “Omega-3 fats help regulate this turnover so that it happens all the time,” Fusco says. And unlike much-lauded almonds, walnuts have tons of the phat fats. So do your lips a favor and pucker up to an ounce (about 14 shelled halves) a day; eat them plain or add them to salads, cereal, oatmeal, trail mix, or your favorite muffin recipe.