Slathering on sunscreen may be the most common way to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun, but there are other things you can also do to stay safe in the outdoors this summer. Nutrition studies have shown that some of the healthiest foods on the planet can also help prevent skin damage and wrinkles.
Tomatoes are packed with antioxidant, lycopene, which has been proven to protect human skin from ultraviolet light. In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that high doses of β-carotene protect skin against UV-induced erythema. Tomato paste is particularly effective for sun protection, so pasta dishes are a great choice. Tomatoes are delicious when mixed with quinoa salads, in pasta salads, and even added to burgers.
Watermelon is an ideal summer treat, and it also contains high amounts of lycopene and sun protectors. For watermelon’s sun protecting properties to really take effect, you’ll need to eat the equivalent of three cups of the red, juicy fruit. For some fun and creative recipe ideas with watermelon, check out the smoothie, salad, and drink recipes on Treehugger.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help protect skin from the sun. Some of the best sources of omega-3 is fatty fish. These types of seafood have anti-inflammatory properties that counteract the negative effects of the sun’s rays. Even better, some studies have shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can actually help prevent certain types of skin cancer. Some great types of omega-3-rich fish to grill out this summer include salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and albacore tuna. If you are unable to eat enough omega-3s in your diet, take a good supplement.
Not only is dark chocolate a delicious treat at any time of the year, but it’s also a natural sun protectant! It contains flavonoids that help the skin avoid burns and dehydration. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, ingesting high amounts of cocoa over time can provide photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improve skin condition.
Everyone knows that broccoli is a healthy vegetable, but not many people know it’s great for sun protection too. Actually, many cruciferous vegetables, also including cauliflower and kale, are packed with the free radical-fighting antioxidants that sun-lovers need. These veggies are delicious in salads, sandwiches, noodle dishes, and stir-fry recipes.
Carrots aren’t just good for eyesight; they’re great for skin too! They contain lots of beta carotene, which has shown to protect skin cells and repair damaged skin cells as well. You’ll need about six whole carrots to get the full sun protecting powers of this healthy vegetable. One delicious way to “sneak” more carrots into your summer diet is by slicing them into long strips and making carrot fries on a baking sheet with a little olive oil and sea salt.
Green tea is healthy for a variety of reasons, but one of them is sun protection. This particular variety of tea is rich in antioxidants that prevent cellular damage in the body, including damage caused by UV rays. A study published in the Archives Biochemistry Biophysics linked green tea to DNA repair and skin cancer protection.
So as you prepare your picnic basket for the beach or park, don’t forget to pack these delicious natural foods for sun protection!