Sun protection is important year-round. I like to remain natural, so I’ve been researching the best foods that offer sun protection that we need to safeguard our skin. Of course, you can always apply sunscreen, and you should! But adding sun-protecting foods to your diet is just as important. According to Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D., C.D., research shows that SPF users don’t apply enough, so they get less than half the sun protection. These foods can be your sunburn safety net.
I always get a slight burn when the sun hits full force and the days are warm because I lay outside in the sun and read my book. I apply sunscreen, but I still get little blisters and have snake-like shedding. Gross, huh! I’ve learned that vitamin C and antioxidant lycopene are potent UV-protecting nutrients.
These foods are a few that offer protection and you probably already consume it!
Red Wine: According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, red wine contains flavonoids that prevent UV-ray-activated reactive oxygen species (ROS) from forming and causing cell death.
Red Grapes: If you don’t like to drink red wine, eating red grapes will offer the same benefit.
Olive Oil: A study in the journal Molecules disclosed, this plant oil contains squalene. This is a compound that possesses antioxidant powers and prevents skin cell death.
Sunflower Seeds: Yum! This is a must-have snack during the summer months. You can eat them at ball games, the beach, and even in your own backyard. They’re portable, delicious, and packed with vitamin E. A study in the journal Molecules found that this vitamin protects against UV damage-induced tumors by two-fold. You can also top salads with this healthy seed.
Avocados: Just like sunflower seeds, this fruit is high in vitamin E. You can eat them alone, as guacamole, and on sandwiches. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet, says you can also use in place of butter using a 1:1 ratio for mashed avocado in baked goods. It will boost the fiber content and improve the fat profile.
Salmon: Salmon eaters will love to hear this! Salmon has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown to boost skin immunity to sunlight, according to a British study.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are tasty summer fruit and contain lycopene, which helps shield against skin reddening, a study in The Journal of Nutrition found.
A lot of these foods are in our kitchen/diet already, just know that while you’re enjoying them, you’re also protecting your skin!