Protecting your skin from sun damage is a huge part of staying healthy, not only throughout the summer but year-round. Sunburns and UV damage not only make your skin age faster, but, as most of us know, can also lead to potentially life-threatening skin cancer.
In addition to slathering on high-SPF, waterproof, full-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen every time you go outside, think about adding these five foods to your diet on a regular basis. You can protect your skin from the inside out with vital nutrients, which help guard your skin against sun damage.
This summer treat won’t just cool you off – it will also help protect your skin from those scorching rays! Watermelon is a fantastic source of lycopene – a strong antioxidant that can help reduce the proliferation of free radicals in your skin by as much as half. Fewer free radicals floating around means less damage to your cells and your DNA – damage that is one of the main causes of cancerous cell growth. Eat about three cups of watermelon, preferably as part of a meal or snack that contains some fat, to get the full benefits.
2. Heirloom Tomatoes
Tomatoes are also an excellent source of lycopene, just like watermelon. In addition to helping protect you against skin cancer, tomatoes may even help to reduce the incidence of sunburn in the first place. One study done in 2001 found that study participants who ate tomato paste for ten weeks tended to experience a 40% lower risk of sunburn than participants who didn’t eat the tomato paste.
Stick to heirloom tomatoes, also known as “ugly” tomatoes, over conventional ones, since they have a higher concentration of lycopene.
This myth-inspiring fruit is well known as one of the best sources of antioxidants around. The antioxidants in pomegranates are particularly good for defending against UVB rays, and have been shown to reduce the incidence of pre-cancerous biomarkers in skin cells. Pomegranates can also provide anti-inflammatory protection to skin, offering further reasons to indulge in these tart seeds.
4. Wild Salmon
Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids you can eat. Those Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe your skin after exposure to the sun, while simultaneously preventing and repairing damage on the cellular level. The fats, protein, and selenium that are highly present in wild salmon also help your skin to further repair itself.
5. Bell Peppers
Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers contain lycopene and beta carotene, two phytochemicals that guard the skin from UV rays.
We’ve already heard about lycopene, but beta carotene, responsible for the peppers’ color, has been shown to protect the skin from irritation, and to reduce the impact of UV rays in terms of sunburn.
All other red and orange fruits and vegetables also contain this phytochemical, so make sure to eat plenty of them, to give your skin the best chance at avoiding sun damage!
What steps do you take to protect your skin from UV rays and sunburn?