Summer is the easiest time of year to get sun and natural vitamin D. But it is also the easiest time to get sunburn. Did you know that the food you eat influences how easily you burn when out in the sun? Research has found certain key nutrients from your diet can boost your skin’s natural sun protection and protect your skin from sun damage. It is necessary for us to absorb the sun in conservative daily doses for vitamin D production. Sunshine only becomes unhealthy when you get excessive exposure to UV rays, which can lead to skin damage, or worse, skin cancer.
You must be smart with sun exposure. If you are going to be in the sun for long periods of time, wear protective clothing, and if needed, non-toxic sunscreen to avoid overloading your skin with too much sun. You should never get sunburned!
Healthy Foods that Boost Your Skin’s Natural Skin Protection
The foods you eat can seriously reduce your risk for sunburn, sun damage, and skin cancer by supporting your skin’s ability to remain healthy and defend itself against too much sun. Here are twelve foods that science shows naturally boost sun protection and healing in the body:
CITRUS FRUIT - Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits) are high in vitamin C. Research has found that a long-term intake of vitamin C, together with vitamin E, can reduce the potential for sunburn.
CARROTS - Carrots are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene also helps protect the skin against the free radical damage caused from sun exposure. Because of this, carrots can provide increased protection against sunburn, especially when combined with vitamin E.
STRAWBERRIES - Strawberries contain a powerful combination of antioxidants and vitamin C, which both help protect your skin from sun damage. They can also help sunburned skin heal.
GREEN TEA - Green tea has disease-preventing properties and protect against sunburn inflammation and long-term UV radiation damage.
POMEGRANATES - Pomegranates have been part of a healing tradition that dates all the way back to ancient Egypt! The seeds in this delicious exotic fruit are rich in antioxidants. Pomegranates also contain ellagic acid, which can help protect your skin from cell damage induced by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
ALMONDS - Almonds are one of the best sources 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.
RED GRAPES - Phytonutrients in grapes can slow down the formation of destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) that form in skin cells, which has been linked to sun damage, skin cancer and cell death.
LEAFY GREENS - Green lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are excellent sources of the antioxidant’s lutein and zeaxanthin. These have been showing to halt cell growth prompted by UV light in studies.
TOMATOES - When you eat tomatoes, you are adding lycopene to your diet. Lycopene is a carotenoid and antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals produced from too much sun and minimizes any inflammatory response to UV damage by your body, according to Mayo Clinic.
WATERMELON - This staple summer fruit is also high in lycopene and contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes!
TURMERIC - Studies suggest that turmeric can help protect the epidermal skin cells from the damage caused by ultraviolet B radiation (UB radiation).
FLAX SEED - Omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds can protect your skin from sunburn, reduce additional inflammation if sunburn occurs, and fight against skin cancer.
Most of this information is less well known, however you can augment your body's natural sun protection systems if you increase your consumption of C and B vitamins, all of which are depleted when your body is regularly exposed to solar rays. Summer's delicious harvests of fresh cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli and collard greens provide, as do citrus fruits and juices, an excellent sources of vitamin C. Foods rich in vitamin B include eggs, liver, poultry, wheat germ, unrefined cereals, milk, bananas, tuna, salmon, spinach, peas and dried brewer's yeast.
Natural Oils with SPF Protection
Natural SPF oils are becoming more mainstream to gently and lightly protect your skin from the sun's harsh rays.
Carrot Seed Oil - Carrot seed oil has significant antioxidant, antiseptic, antifungal and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A. This normally comes in the form of an essential oil, but when mixed with a carrier oil, provides sun protection as high as SPF 38-30.
Raspberry Seed Oil - Raspberry seed oil is a great source of Vitamin E and polyphenols, which protect from UV radiation, help regenerate skin and promote elasticity.
Wheatgerm Oil - Wheatgerm oil is a great source of Vitamin E, K, and B and Choline. This is fantastic for moisturizing tissue and preventing free radical damage.
Avocado Oil - Avocado oil has a high proportion of mono-saturated fats, which provide a protective layer over the skin.
Pomegranate Seed Oil - Pomegranate seed oil is another excellent source of polyphenols and rich in Vitamin C, which helps fight free radicals.