The sun is starting to feel a bit hotter every year, right? You have to be careful because long-term exposure can damage your immune system, accelerate skin aging, and cause skin cancer. All not good.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 2 million people around the world suffer from skin cancer annually. To protect skin from sun damage, we are predisposed to use ample sunscreen for protection. But due to various questionable cancer-causing, environmentally-damaging chemicals added to some sunscreen products, it’s best to use them moderately. Your best bet for a natural SPF (sun protection factor) is sun-protection foods.
Diet has an impact on the inflammations of the body. Sunburn is a kind of inflammation, and repeated burning from the sun is dangerous. When it comes to protecting your body from solar overexposure, anti-inflammatory foods play a huge role. This is especially relevant during the current summer months.
First on the list is blueberries. These sweet blue marbles possess powerful antioxidants against free radicals that speed up skin aging and damage caused by UV rays. Besides that, blueberries are also rich in vitamin C, which is a wrinkle-defying nutrient
2. Sweet potatoes
Besides being a great addition to your diet, sweet potatoes are higher in beta-carotene content than most veggies out there. Beta-carotene is a pigment commonly found in fruits that helps defend your skin from UV damage. Among different varieties, the purple sweet potato has other nutrients for UV protection, such as cyanidin and peonidin. These two antioxidants are commonly used in cosmetic creams to boost UV protection potency.
Watermelon is good as a snack and a source of protection from the sun. The fruit contains a high amount of lycopene which, according to a 2012 study, absorbs both UVB and UVA radiation. But it will take weeks for its effects to appear because of the normal turnover or renewal time of the skin, which ranges from 40 to 56 days.
Fish also add some defensive nutrients to your skin. Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that protect against sun damage. Two servings of fish for a week is enough. But if you’re not into seafood, fish oil supplements work as well.
If you’re scouting for in-between meal snacks, almonds are the best for their nutritional value. They are filling and pack a lot of nutrients like fiber and calcium. As a sun-protection food, they provide vitamin E. Aside from being a potent shield against UV damage, vitamin E is also known for preserving a youthful glow to the skin thanks to its moisturizing properties.
The all-time favorite chocolate is not just a luxurious treat for your taste buds, it also gives good protection against the sun’s ray. According to one study, regular consumption of the flavanol-rich dark chocolate grants the consumer with photoprotection, a biochemical process intended to cope with sun damage. In addition to flavanol, dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants, improving cognitive health and combating stress.
Tea lovers are going to be pleased to know that their favorite drink boosts their defense against the sun’s rays. Black teas and green teas are packed with flavanol, an antioxidant that keeps your skin sunburn-free. Green tea may be the better choice between the two because of its defensive properties against UVA damage and collagen loss.