It may not seem so right now... but soon we'll all want to get outside and enjoy the weather. It’s good for us both mentally and physically. The sun on our skin feels wonderful and boosts our body’s vitamin D levels. Sunshine and vitamin D production are critical for long-term health. However, it is important not to burn or get excessive exposure to UV rays because this will cause skin damage and #cancer.
There are many foods that boost the skins natural sun protection abilities. Here’s a list of some of them:
Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits are high in vitamin C. Research has found that vitamin C, together with vitamin E, can reduce the potential for sunburn. Citrus fruits also contain #limonene, which has been associated with a 34% lower risk of skin cancer. Citrus fruits also contain antioxidants, which work to protect your cells from free-radical damage that can lead to skin cancer.
CARROTS AND SWEET POTATOES
These orange foods are packed with beta-carotene and carotenoids. Beta-carotene helps protect the skin against the free radical damage caused from sun exposure. Because of this, they can provide increased protection against sunburn, especially when combined with vitamin E.
Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which protects and repairs the skin from sunlight. Almonds also contain quercetin, which has been shown to protect against UV damage and the wrinkle-causing breakdown of collagen. In one study, participants getting 14 milligrams of vitamin E per day — the amount found in 20 almonds —had less sunburn when exposed to UV light than those who did not eat any almonds.
Studies have shown that drinking one to two cups of green or black tea a day can protect against sunburn and possibly reduce the risk of skin cancer as much as 30 percent. One study found that green tea can prevent non-melonoma skin cancer.
Green tea contains catechins, which have disease-preventing properties and protect against sunburn inflammation and long-term UV radiation damage. Green tea also contains EGCCs which has been shown to stop genetic damage in skin exposed to UV light.
Black tea contains #quercetin. A study published by Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found that quercetin was responsible for lessening oxidative DNA damage caused by UVB exposure, and was able to help protect the skin from related inflammation.
The seeds in this exotic fruit are rich in antioxidants. These compounds help fight free radicals, a nasty set of atoms or molecules that can be a product of unprotected sun exposure.
The antioxidants in #pomegranate show some promise in warding off several types of cancer. Pomegranate also increases glutathione, a power-house antioxidant, which also increases protection from free radical damage.
Resveratrol, a type of polyphenol found in grapes can slow down the formation of destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) that form in skin cells and have been linked to sun damage, skin cancer and cell death. Grapes have other polyphenols that inhibit skin cancer induced by UV rays and they also contain quercetin. Choose red or purple ones as green grapes have significantly less resveratrol.
Green lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are excellent sources of the #antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids . These have been show to halt cell growth prompted by UV light in animal studies. An Australian study found eating three servings of leafy greens daily reduces likelihood of skin cancer by up to 55 percent.
Tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid and antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals produced from too much sun and minimizes any inflammatory response to UV damage in your body. Heat concentrates lycopene levels, so more is packed in to processed or cooked tomatoes.
In a German study, participants who ate a quarter cup of tomato paste with olive oil every day for 10 weeks experienced 35 percent LESS skin reddening when exposed to UV radiation than those who did not eat the tomato paste. In another study, people eating five tablespoons of lycopene-rich tomato paste daily for three months experienced 25 percent more natural protection against sunburn.
This summer fruit contains 40% more #lycopene than tomatoes. See above!
FLAX SEEDS AND FATTY FISH
Omega 3 fatty acids in #flaxseeds and fatty fish can protect your skin from sunburn, reduce additional inflammation if sunburn occurs, and fight against skin cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, flaxseed oil can protect your skin against UV rays and keep your skin moisturized so it won’t dry out, as well as fight against skin cancer. If you get a mild sunburn apply flaxseed oil topically to reduce inflammation, and take it orally to promote overall skin health and texture.
Not only do the #flavonols in dark chocolate protecting against heart disease, stroke and other conditions, they also increase resistance to sunburn and other damage caused by UV exposure. Studies show that these antioxidants increase skin density and reduce roughness by boosting hydration and blood flow to the skin. Keep in mind that these benefits come only from dark chocolate — ideally the kind with at least 70 percent cacao.