Tuesday Ten: Foods That Fight Sun Damage

Tuesday Ten: Foods That Fight Sun Damage

In the summertime, there is no better feeling than going to the beach or the pool and feeling the warm sun on your skin. I love getting that sunkissed glow just as much as any girl, but I have had to teach myself to become really diligent with sunscreen over the years. In my high school days, I would bake for hours at a time (cue the regret). Now, you can find me wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat to shade my face with SPF +9826 slathered all over my skin. Even when I think I’ve been extra careful about sun exposure, there have been times where I’ve found myself with rosy cheeks and pink shoulders after being in the sun. With brings me to today’s post…

When sunscreen just doesn’t cut it, there are a few foods that have been proven to help reduce the changes of sunburn. Take a peek below and make sure to stock up the next time you’re at the market…

1. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Believe it or not, dark chocolate actually acts as a shield from the sun. It contains four times as many phenols compounds (help to decrease the risk of developing cancer) and catechins (heart healthy flavonoids) as tea. Both of these are antioxidants that help protect our skin from sunburn and skin cancer, according to Daily Glow, so eat one square of dark chocolate a day.

2. Tomatoes
According to a study from the British Society of Investigative Dermatology, lycopene-rich tomatoes can actually protect your skin against sunburn. Lycopene helps to neutralize the damaging effects of UV light and eating lycopene-rich foods can actually help prevent your skin from aging. Throw a few tomatoes in your salad or use tomatoes paste in my favorite cauliflower crust pizza recipe.

3. Green Tea
I have always loved green tea. Besides its abilities to boost your immune system, clear up your skin, and speed up your metabolism, it also helps to soothe sunburns. Drinking one to two cups of this antioxidant-rich tea a day helps to reduce the redness of sunburn. It even repairs broken capillary veins too. In fact, studies show that it can actually block DNA damage from happening as a result of UV light, according to Daily Glow. Drink up, ladies.

4. Red Peppers
According to Mind Body Green, bell peppers contain an antioxidant called capsiate, which decreases skin damage caused by UVB rays. Peppers also help to reduce inflammation from sun exposure. Whip up some of my stuffed bell peppers to reap these benefits.

5. Garlic
You might remember how I included garlic in my list of foods that help to flatten your belly. Not only does garlic detoxify and reduce bloating, it also can protect the skin from the aging effects of UV radiation, according to Health With Food. Garlic contains a natural compound called allicin, which has strong antioxidant and healing properties. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that enter your body from sun exposure, so eat your garlic. 

6. Aloe Vera Juice
It’s a pretty widely known fact that aloe vera gel helps to soothe sunburns and smooth out wrinkles. It’s a kind of a magic concoction for your skin. But aloe vera juice also has it’s own healing properties. According to Every Nutrient, this juice is excellent for healing damaged tissues and skin cells in our bodies. Sun damage doesn’t stand a chance against this healthy drink!

7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is not only great to use for cooking, it’s also an antioxidant-rich food that fights sun damage. One study actually proved that incorporating olive oil regularly into your diet can help to reduce reddening from sun exposure by 35%, according to an article from World’s Healthiest Foods.

8. Pomegranates 
Pomegranate seeds have polyphenols (similar to the phenols I mentioned above), which protect skin from UVA and UVB rays. According to Mind Body Green, they also help your sunscreen to work and inhibit hyperpigmentation.

9. Citrus 
Orange and pink citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, contain large amounts of the skin-cell protective compound called limonene. These fruits also come packed with flavonoids, which improve the skin’s ability to recover from sun damage. Lemon water, anyone?

10. Carrots
These orange veggies have carotenoids (plant pigments that are rich antioxidants), which help to protect against sunburn because of their antioxidant properties, according to Gene Lester, M.S., Ph.D., a plant physiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Give my recipe for roasted carrots a try by clicking here.

It is important to remember that, while you can eat as much of these foods as you want, nothing will help to prevent sun damage more than sunscreen. Eating one square of dark chocolate does not mean you can go to the beach SPF-free. Remember to oil up with tons of sunscreen and wear a hat to shade your face when you’re spending long amounts of time in the sun, ladies.

Which of the foods on this list are a staple in your daily diet?

XO Lauren

Photo: Tuula Vintage
Sources: Daily Glow, Nutra Ingredients, World’s Healthiest Foods, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Every Nutrient, Health With Food, Mind Body Green
Categories: Dine, Grow, Skincare
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