Did you know that you might be able to eat your way to sun protection? Tomatoes are one of the top sun protection superfoods, according to a small animal study reported on by Glamour Magazine.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene and vitamin C, which fight free radicals and hydrate the skin. The study found that eating cooked tomatoes for three months may help guard against sunburn. Take note, fresh tomatoes have less lycopene than cooked tomatoes.
Lycopene has other health benefits like possibly preventing diabetes and improving heart health.
Other foods that provide antioxidant protection include the following:
• Leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli.
• Olive Oil
• Dark chocolate
Leafy green vegetables provide antioxidant protection which may help repair and prevent skin damage. Also, you may want to try the Mediterranean Diet before you spend some time in the sun, because this diet incorporates ingredients like olive oil, leafy green vegetables and legumes.
Glamour Magazine also states that some "studies have found cocoa high in flavonoids may give your skin added protection against the sun's UV rays." Flavonoids may change the way that cells prevent or reduce inflammation.
The Huffington Post recommends the following foods to help prevent sun burn:
• Pomegranates can neutralize free radicals because they are rich in antioxidants. Pomegranates boost levels of your bodies, naturally producing glutathione, which protects you from free radical damage.
• Flax seeds deliver high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Their anti-inflammatory properties protect your skin from sun damage.
• Carrots have carotenoids, and like the tomato’s lycopene, may protect you from sunburn.
• Brazil nuts provide a trace element called selenium. Selenium, along with glutathione, vitamin B3, as well as vitamins C and E, work together to prevent free radical damage.
• Citrus fruits are loaded with antioxidants, which may protect cells from changes which could lead to skin cancer.
In a recent interview with Today.com, New York City dermatologist Doris Day claimed that sunscreen pills can offer at least some protection from sun damage. Day suggested that people take the dietary supplements twice a day during the summer and once a day when it's colder outside. The supplements provide antioxidants which that enable you to "help your skin help yourself."
In addition, Day stated that "they actually do have data that shows you get mild sun protection from them. It's one more little thing you can do. If you're a person who has very strong sun sensitivity, or even a sun allergy, this gives you that edge."
While you may be able to eat your way to skin protection or take sunscreen pills, your first line of defense should still be sunscreen.
• Store your sunscreen in the refrigerator or cooler. This allows for a refreshing, cool sunscreen application.
• Make sure you have an extra hat and shirt in your beach bag for additional protection.
• Find out the daily UV index from the National Weather Service before you depart for your sun activities.
"3 Ways to Prevent Sunburn That Aren't Sunscreen." TODAY.com. Web. 06 July 2015.
Kramer, Suki. "Eat Your Sun Protection." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Web. 06 July 2015.
"4 Foods That May Actually Help Prevent Sunburns." Glamour. Web. 06 July 2015.
Reviewed July 9, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith