Ah, summertime. The season of soaking up the sunshine and enjoying all of the benefits that come along with it, including a natural dose of Vitamin D, glowing skin, and an instant mood booster every time you step out the door and take in a deep breath of fresh air.
But as much as the sun can make us feel and look good, too much sun can also cause us some skin serious damage, from redness, itchiness and peeling – the signs associated with sunburn – to more serious and permanent skin conditions, such as premature aging and cancer.
Luckily, there are many methods to help us protect ourselves and our families from the harmful effects that can be caused by over-exposure to the sun. However, one of the most obvious ways to protect our skin from sun damage, is also often one of the most surprising to many people: What we eat! There are certain seasonal foods you can use to protect your skin against sun damage.
Monitoring what we put into our bodies (our food) can be just as effective a tool to protect against the sun’s harmful UV-rays as what we put on the outside of our bodies, such as applying natural mineral-based sunscreen to our skin and wearing a quality pair of UV-filtering sunglasses whenever we’re outside in the sun.
UV-protective foods, such as tomatoes, watermelon, apricots and greens that contain the photochemicals lycopene and beta-carotene have the ability to enhance our anti-aging sun defenses from inside of our bodies.
As certified health coach and former magazine beauty editor Jolene Hart talks about in her book, “Eat Pretty” a seasonal food guide that outlines the health benefits of our diets, eating tomatoes regularly throughout the summer can defend us against UV damage and are also anti-inflammatory and are packed with potassium.
Watermelon is also a great defense against UV-damage as it’s packed with the antioxidant lycopene and is also hydrating and detoxifying for your body. I love adding frozen chucks of watermelon to my summer smoothies. It adds a refreshingly cool and yummy texture!
Some other in-season summer foods that contain UV-protection include apricots, cantaloupe and collard greens, which all include vitamin A, known to protect against UV damage, as well as papayas, which are a natural source of vitamin E, beta-carotene and lycopene, again, protecting us against sun damage.
So next time you pack your beach bag or picnic basket for a day of fun in the sun, remember to throw in some simple and delicious sun-protector foods to keep you and your family looking and feeling your best long after your tans fades away and the season of sunshine comes to an end.