Sunscreen is a staple for the summer months. The UV index is high and so are the risks of sun-related skin damage. While sunscreen is helpful, you can improve its effectiveness by also adjusting your diet. Below, find 14 foods to eat for sun protection and to help you fight off sun damage.
The best 14 foods to eat for sun protection
Sunscreen is irreplaceable when it comes to protect the skin against sun damage. Nevertheless, your diet can also have an impact on your body’s own defenses against the harmful rays.
From nutrients that actively fight these damages to others that increase the skin protection, find out which foods to eat for sun protection.
There are many benefits to eating strawberries, especially throughout the summer months.
One of the biggest benefits is the refreshing taste. Additionally, strawberries have antioxidants, which provide some protection from the sun. They are also rich in Vitamin C.
Strawberries can even be used as relief from a sunburn. All you have to do for this is turning the berries into a paste and apply it to the affected area. You’ll feel relief after a few short minutes.
Watermelon is already a staple to many summer picnic baskets. The juicy fruit is refreshing and tastes great.
It’s also packed full of lycopene, a carotenoid that protects your skin from too much sun. This means in addition to keeping you and your skin hydrated, it helps to prevent sun damage.
Pomegranates are an exotic fruit, packed with flavor and antioxidants. They also contain ellagic acid.
If you don’t know what that is, it’s an element that helps to protect your skin against UV damage from the sun. It does this through cell repair. When paired with sunscreen, pomegranates can increase the SPF protection by almost 20%.
Citrus foods that are high in Vitamin C help to boost your protection from the sun. Some of these types of fruits include: grapefruits, lemons, limes, and oranges.
Vitamin C is high in limonene which has cancer preventive properties and it’s even being tested as a treatment for breast cancer. Furthermore, it has been theorized to decrease your chances of skin cancer by almost 34%.
That’s a drastic decrease from eating delicious fruits that help you feel energized as well. Anything containing Vitamin C is a good food to eat for sun protection.
There are two ways that eating cucumber can increase your sun protection. The first method is by keeping you hydrated. As you probably know, cucumbers are mostly water. This will help to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
The second way cucumbers help is by producing collagen. That helps you to fight off potential cancer cells!
Rich in beta-carotene, carrots are great for protecting your skin from sun damage. Eating carrots can help to reduce damage from sun exposure and protect against sunburns. Carrots are particularly effective when paired with other foods that are high in Vitamin E.
Most leafy greens are filled with antioxidants, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants actually help by preventing cell growth caused by UV light.
Some of the leafy greens are kale, lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard. Tossing up a salad with various leafy greens and any of the fruits or vegetables on this list is ideal for a refreshing snack that helps to keep your skin happy and healthy.
A great salad topper, almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, known to protect your skin from sunlight and even repair already damaged skin. Almonds can also help to prevent collagen from breaking down, which keeps your skin in optimal condition.
Tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that helps by neutralizing the threat known as “free radicals”. Free radicals are molecules that cause skin damage as a result of exposure to the sun.
Tomatoes can also help to minimize inflammation. It doesn’t matter how you’re ingesting the tomatoes. You can eat them in a paste or drink tomato juice. You can chop them up and put them in your salad. As long as you’re eating them, you’re going to see the benefits.
A steaming pile of French fries on a hot summer day may sound like paradise, but there’s a health benefit too! The reason they are one of the foods to eat for sun protection lies in their starch, which can help reduce the damage caused by the sun.
Ideally, sweet potatoes are the way to go. They are higher in carotene and Vitamin C. Of course, the grease from deep-fried French fries isn’t going to sit well in your diet, so try to avoid overly greasy foods.
Many people enjoy this beverage for the health benefits and smooth taste. But, did you know that green tea can also be used to protect you from sunburns?
There’s a good amount of catechins and tannins in green tea. That means the tea is anti-oxidizing and boosts cell health. You can enjoy a hot cup of tea or opt for iced tea for the ultimate summer refreshment.
The reason oatmeal is commonly used in anti-aging remedies is because it helps to rejuvenate the skin. Oatmeal is another food item that is rich in antioxidants, particularly the ones that fight off free radical cells.
Eating oatmeal will give you some of the benefits, but you’ll see better results from using a homemade oatmeal scrub or lotion!
Turmeric is a superfood for all purposes. It can be used in a variety of ways, from a spice to a smoothie. Turmeric is particularly helpful during the summer months because they can help fight off UV radiation. In addition to this, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an antioxidant.
The best way to enjoy turmeric is steeped into tea or mixed into a smoothie.
I bet you didn’t think you’d see chocolate on a list of foods to eat for sun protection! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, especially in higher concentrations (70% or more dark chocolate).
Eating a bit of dark chocolate every day will help to make your skin smooth, plus protect you from radiation. A full bar a day isn’t recommended, but spacing a chocolate bar out over the week is.
Bonus: Sun Protection Tips
Now you know which foods to eat for sun protection and you’re aware that sunscreen is fundamental. But here are a few other tips that might come in handy during the summer months:
- Wear a hat, particularly a large-brimmed one.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Wear protective clothing (like a sheer over shirt).
- Stay out of direct sunlight or limit your exposure.
- Stay in the shade whenever possible.
- Gradually exposure yourself to the sun.
- Take supplements to boost your skin health.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Add citrus to your water to up your Vitamin C intake.
Below you can find out the 10 most common mistakes people make when it comes to sun protection. The tips are from the Cancer Council of Western Australia.