I don’t mean literally. I’m not encouraging you to eat sunscreen right out of the tube. But did you know that certain foods can help protect you from UV damage? Many foods contain a natural SPF that can up your resistance to the sun from the inside out. A significant factor in natural sun protection is the foods we eat, specifically foods highly anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants.
Try adding more of the following to your diet this summer. ↓
Get your greens on. Leafy greens such as leeks, artichokes, broccoli, kale, romaine, spinach, cilantro, celery, and parsley are optimal for preventing and repairing sun damage.
Green is the theme! Broccoli. Rich in an antioxidant called sulforaphane that helps protect cells against the ravages of UV radiation.
Chocolate YAY! Sorry, milk chocolate doesn’t fall into this category because milk prevents the absorption of polyphenols. Dark chocolate (70% cacao) contains phenols and catechins. These antioxidants help protect the skin from sunburn and skin cancer.
Full-fat baby: A recent study shows that saturated fats protect the skin from the inflammatory response (sunburn) after too much sun exposure. It is shown to increase the time it takes to become sunburned—similar to sunscreens. So add healthy sources of saturated fats, such as butter (made from grass-fed raw, organic milk) and coconut oil.
Tea time. Green tea contains polyphenols that help fight the battle against UV rays. It has high epigallocatechin–3–gallate (EGCG), the most potent polyphenol! EGCG is a multitasker that slows sun-related skin aging, prevents skin cancer, and inhibits tumor cells.
Say it with me, ly-co-pene. Watermelon, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, tomato, and all red fruits contain lycopene, an antioxidant that can enhance the skin’s natural defense against free radicals by 35%
Boost Resveratrol. Not from red wine, alcohol negates its benefits. Once incorporated into skin cells, resveratrol helps protect cells from UV damage. Resveratrol can be found in grapes, peanuts, cocoa, blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries. In grapes, resveratrol is found only in the skin.
Astaxanthin. It’s 550 times more powerful than vitamin E and has been shown to protect the skin and eyes against ultraviolet radiation. It may be difficult to get therapeutic amounts of astaxanthin through food alone, so supplementing with 12 mg daily will boost your internal sun protection.
We know the adverse effect the sun can have on us but remember that for our bodies to make Vitamin D, we need sun exposure without sunscreen. With our new jack-up sun-protecting diet, we will be less likely to have adverse effects while making that oh-so-important vitamin D.
I am not saying to stop wearing sunscreen, but if you use traditional chemical sunscreen, I recommend switching to a mineral-based sunscreen (that is a rant for another day).
Think of this as a little extra barrier of summer sun protection that will help you avoid sleepless nights because your skin is on fire. And most important of all, add these to your diet to promote healthy skin aging.