Before you pack up your picnic basket and head to the park or beach, take note: certain foods can help protect your skin against sun damage. Check out this list of 8 foods that fight sun damage, and make sure to include at least a few of them in your diet. Your skin will thank you.
The lypocene in tomatoes may give you protection against UV rays. In a recent study published by the Journal of British Dermatology, healthy women 21 to 47 years old consumed either four tablespoons of tomato paste in olive oil every day for three months or just olive oil. Those who consumed the tomato paste were more protected against sunburn. If you want to protect your skin this summer, eat and drink your tomatoes.
You’ll find a rich source of vitamin E in asparagus. This makes asparagus one of the best foods for neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are those pesky things that damage your cells. Eating foods high in antioxidants is a great way to fight back against free radicals. Give your skin a fighting chance by getting your dose of asparagus.
To get your melatonin, Montmorency cherries are your best bet. Cherries in general are a good source of this beneficial antioxidant, but Montmorency have the highest level of them all. Melatonin helps to protect skin from ultraviolet radiation by stimulating new skin cell growth. Bonus: cherries have vitamin C, which is needed to build wrinkle-preventing collagen.
4. Green Tea
Antioxidant-rich green tea can help soothe your sunburn. A cup or two a day can reduce redness and repair broken capillary veins. This is in addition to green tea’s other benefits: clear skin, faster metabolism and a boosted immune system.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, a trace mineral with multiple benefits. Included among its plethora of benefits: zinc is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, helps heal wounds, boosts your immune system, and most importantly for these summer months, it protects against UV radiation. If you want to protect your skin, toss some pumpkin seeds on your next salad or mix them with raisins and chocolate chips for a homemade trail mix.
Pomegranates are a rich source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and they protect against free radicals. As long as you’re making that salad with pumpkin seeds, you may as well throw in some pomegranate seeds as well and get double the benefits.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Free radicals work in two ways. They damage cells inside the body, and they damage skin cells as well. Antioxidants are the best way to fight back against free radicals. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a powerhouse antioxidant that can stop free radicals in their path. Don’t relegate sweet potatoes to only autumn and winter dishes. Summer is the sweet potato’s time to shine.
8. Dark Chocolate
Were you worried that fruits and veggies (and a little green tea) were the only way to fight against skin damage? Don’t worry – you can have your dark chocolate and eat it too. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which help hydrate your skin, boost oxygen saturation and increase blood flow. Also, flavonoids may protect against some types of skin damage, most importantly sunburns. Life doesn’t have to be all fresh produce all the time. Get your candy fix, too!