8 Skin-Protecting Foods
Aside from slathering on sunscreen when you go out, the next best thing you can do for your skin’s health is to eat a diet rich in antioxidants. These nutrients work to protect your body’s cells (including skin cells) from the damage of free radicals.
Add these sun-friendly foods to your next shopping trip.
Salmon: Omega-3-rich fish have incredible anti-inflammatory powers and can help protect cells from free radical damage (like that caused by the sun). Fresh, frozen, canned, it is all a great source.
Red and Orange Vegetables and Fruits: Lycopene, a natural pigment and antioxidant, found in tomatoes and other red and pink produce has been shown to aid in protection against some UV-induced skin irritations like sun burn. Lycopene helps rid the body of free radicals. Beta-carotene — another type of carotenoid found in red and orange produce — has been linked to reduced reactions to sunburns, and orange and pink citrus fruits have been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays. Try carrots, tomatoes (Muir Glen Fire Roasted are my favorite), watermelon, grapefruit and sweet potatoes.
Dark Chocolate: The delicious dark stuff, made of 65 percent or more raw cocoa, contains amazing antioxidants called flavonoids, which help protect the body from sun damage. Do your waist a favor and have just a small amount (one ounce per day). My personal pick? Green & Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, are packed with essential antioxidants that help fight those pesky free radicals. Bonus points? This family of veggies has also been linked to cancer prevention not only in the skin, but in a number of other organs as well.
Leafy Greens: If it’s green and leaf-like, chances are it’s also good for sun protection. Fresh herbs — specifically parsley, basil, sage, and rosemary — are packed with our free-radical fighting and skin-protecting antioxidant friends. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are all full of antioxidants which may also naturally protect the skin from sun damage.
Green and Black Tea: Green and Black teas (which actually start as leafy greens — surprise, surprise) are packed with compounds that can help stop cancer development by limiting the blood supply to the cancerous area. My go-to favorite is Dilmah’s Caramel tea. #nomnom
Strawberries, Kiwis, and Oranges: High in vitamin C, these three fruits are fully equipped to help block the development of cancer cells. Vitamin C is great for helping neutralize free radicals that your body produces in response to the cellular damaged caused by exposure to sunlight. Cool fact: Kiwi is the king of fruits. Ounce for ounce, it packs more vitamin C than any other fruit. Simple wash, cut the ends off and eat – skin and all!
Seeds and Nuts: Top off a salad, yogurt, or smoothie with slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds—all contain vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that protects against sun damage. This vitamin has also proven to slow the aging of skin cells and help diminish the appearance of scars.