Today, the spotlight on sun damage is more prevalent than ever before. Not only is more known about the sun’s harmful effects, but more information is available about products that can help you fight back.
While keeping out of the sun, covering your exposed skin, and using a quality sunscreen are still the best options for protection against harmful UV rays, there is another line of defense you may not be aware of — food.
There are a number of foods that work from the inside out to help repair existing sun damage and they also help to build up a defense for your skin to combat the sun. Here are five foods that will help you protect your skin from the sun:
1 – Sweet Potatoes
Cancer causing elements, referred to as free radicals, are the enemy when referring to sun damage. Free radicals damage not only your skin cells, but also cells inside your body. A great way to fight free radicals is to consume a diverse selection of foods rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants can neutralize free radicals, turning them into stable particles that are virtually harmless. An excellent source of antioxidants is sweet potatoes because of the high beta-carotene content found in these root vegetables. Fight free radicals from the inside by chowing down on these prior to going out for some fun in the sun.
2 – Green Tea
Green tea is best known for its ability to rev up your metabolism. However, many people don’t realize that it’s also a powerful food for your skin. Green tea is full of catechins, which provide antioxidants, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the damage from free radicals. It also contains polyphenols, which are plant compounds that may be effective in fighting cancer.
3 – Sunflower Seeds
Full of the antioxidant vitamin E, a single ounce of hulled sunflower seeds contains up to 10 milligrams of this vitamin. This is equivalent to two-thirds of the recommended daily amount. You can sprinkle these crunchy seeds over salads or mix them into your oatmeal to reap the skin-saving benefits. It is recommended that you get your vitamin E from whole foods, such as sunflower seeds, rather than supplements to see the largest number of benefits. Other potent sources of vitamin E include avocados, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and nuts.
4 – Tomatoes
Another antioxidant that can help protect your skin is Lycopene. This is found in tomatoes. The general rule of thumb about tomatoes is the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. Your body can easily absorb this beneficial antioxidant when the tomatoes are cooked, so reach for tomato sauce, soup, juice or paste prior to heading to the beach. According to a study from the Royal Society of Medicine, consuming tomato paste can significantly enhance the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun’s damaging UV rays. It can also reduce redness caused by sun damage. Another great source of lycopene (if you absolutely hate tomatoes) is watermelon.
5 – Salmon
While it is important to consume plenty of antioxidant-rich foods for skin protection, healthy fats are just as important. Foods such as flaxseed, walnuts, tuna, and salmon are all great sources of omega-3s and will help you maintain a healthy fat layer right beneath the skin. This prevents signs of aging and sun damage.
While it may be surprising that eating the right foods can actually protect your skin, it can certainly be a factor. The foods listed here are not only good for your overall health, they can also protect your skin. Regardless of whether you are planning to spend just a few minutes in the sun, or an entire day, eating these foods could help prevent some sun damage that might otherwise occur.