Did you know that some foods can protect your skin from sun damage? Yes, it’s true, you can now eat your sunscreen! Well, maybe not quite.
Numerous studies are showing that many foods are photo-protective. In one study the diets of 1,000 people were analysed. Those who ate oily fish at least once a week were 28% less likely to develop skin cancer. Half a glass of wine daily reduced your risk by 27%. It’s thought the Omega 3 in oily fish and the antioxidants in wine help the skin cope with UV radiation.
These aren’t the only foods that help protect the skin from these damaging rays. Other nutrients also play a role in delivering sun-protective benefits to the skin.
Brazil nuts are nature’s richest source of selenium, an anti-oxidant mineral. Selenium may have the ability to lessen the damage that UV rays have on skin. In 2009 a study showed that higher levels of selenium in the blood reduced the risk of skin cancer by half.
Green tea is another wonderful skin food. It contains antioxidants that reduce skin inflammation and cell damage caused by sun exposure. As a bonus it also improves the hydration of your skin.
Carotenoids are another valuable group of nutrients. They give fruit and vegetables their bright colours (yellow, green, red, or orange). Many studies show carotenoids offer sun-protecting benefits through the anti-oxidants they contain. Betacarotene (a common carotenoid) improved the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun. This nutrient is so easy to get from your diet. Simply increase your intake of orange and yellow fruits and vegetables and leafy greens.
Lycopene is another carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red colour. It has been shown to greatly reduce the redness that results from sun exposure. In one study, people that consumed tomato paste daily showed an average of 40% less redness than the control group. Another study of 40-50 year old’s showed that people with higher skin lycopene levels also had smoother skin.
Astaxanthin, a red carotenoid found in plants and algae was found to help prevent skin cancer. Studies over the last 20 years found it to be a very powerful antioxidant. It exhibits one of the strongest protective actions of all the carotenoids.
Good nutrition plays a vital role in ensuring you have healthy, beautiful skin. But studies also show that certain foods boost the protective benefits your sunscreen offers. Spring is a great time to increase your intake of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Try this recipe to make sure you’re protecting your skin from the inside as well as the outside.