As the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter this spring, many people start looking for sun protection in the form of sunglasses, hats, cover-ups and sunscreen. While these are all suitable ways to prevent sunburn, they do not help the skin protect itself on its own. If you are looking for a way to help your skin become less susceptible to damage from sunlight, look no further than your kitchen.
Surprisingly, there are many components such as vitamins and antioxidants hiding in the foods you eat that will help boost yours skin’s ability to shun the sun’s rays. Wellness blog Mark’s Daily Apple shares some great natural foods that can prevent sunburn.
Two of the most popular summer fruits, tomatoes and watermelons, are full of the powerful carotenoid lycopene, which is responsible for creating the red pigmentation in these foods. Rich in antioxidants, this compound has been shown to help prevent sunburn.
According to a study published by the British Association of Dermatologists, participants who consumed 55 g of tomato paste every day for 12 weeks were less susceptible to sunburn then those who did not. Notably, tomato products used in cooking are better because the amount of lycopene increases; therefore, tomato sauces and pastes can offer more benefits in reducing sunburn than other foods. If tomatoes or watermelons are not your favorite, other sources of lycopene rich foods include pink grapefruit, egg yolks and salmon.
If you are not drinking green tea already for its many health benefits, consider trying it for its abundance in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which are great for your skin cells and aid in the prevention of skin cancer. One study by the Department of Dermatology showed that drinking green tea helped prevent the development of skin tumors in mice, due to its high levels of polyphenols.
If you are not a daily consumer of green tea, consider using a topical green tea gel which contains EGCs, which can offer help in preventing sunburn. Bodybuiler.com suggests trying Matcha green tea, which has ten times the amount of antioxidants than regular tea has and has been attributed anti-aging and longevity properties.
Omegas-3 fatty acids are another great source of protection against the sun. Found in foods such as seafood, beans, flax seeds and walnuts, these fatty acids are shown to help aid in the prevention against skin cancer. A study conducted by the Cancer and Populations Group showed that Australian adults who had the most abundant levels of DHA and EPA showed greater immunity against melanoma due to their low p53 expression levels. To get a sufficient amount of DHA and EPA, try supplementing with fermented cod liver fish oil, which will also provide sufficient amounts of vitamins A, C, D and E, which are all helpful in the prevention of sunburn.
Though not commonly known by name, proanthocyanidins have been known for their ability to aid the skin in protection against sunburn. This flavonoid can be found in grape seeds, blueberries, nuts such as pistachios and hazelnuts, and grains such as sorghum and barley. A study by the American Academy of Dermatology found that the development of skin cancer can be lowered with the supplementation of grape seed extract due to its ability to decrease the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
There are many foods that have been scientifically proven to help humans battle against the sun. While sunscreen is great in protecting against sunburn, nothing beats giving your skin an extra boost against the sun’s rays with the foods that you eat. Next time you enjoy a sunny afternoon, eat a slice of watermelon for a bit of sun protection that you can enjoy.