A great way to protect your skin from sun damage during the summer months is to include skin-protective foods into your diet on a daily basis. For example, there are powerful antioxidants found in plants that protect the plant itself from photo damage. These same antioxidants, in particular carotenoids and polyphenols, have the ability to protect our skin from sun damage as well.
Then there are other antioxidants like flavonoids, found in cocoa beans, and catcheins, in green tea, that also protect against sunburn and skin inflammation.
The delicious foods below are full of antioxidants that will support your skin during the summer months.
Kiwi — Vitamin C
When we think of getting vitamin C from food we think of citrus fruits. But a kiwi actually contains more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to protect our skin from UV damage. It enhances collagen production and greatly aids in skin cell renewal.
Tomatoes — Lypocene
When cooked, tomatoes become a concentrated source of lycopene – a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and researchers indicate that it is able to protect our cells from damage and prohibit the growth of tumours. As an antioxidant it works as a free radical scavenger, reducing your body’s response to UV damage.
When tomatoes are gently cooked, the plant’s cell walls are broken down and lycopene becomes readily available to our body.
Watermelon— Lypocene and Vitamin C
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and perhaps surprisingly, lypocene — these two powerful antioxidants reduce skin inflammation and protect from UV damage. Watermelon is naturally abundant during summer which makes it the ideal fruit to include into your diet.
Almonds — Vitamin E
Vitamin E is well known as a skin-friendly antioxidant that can repair skin damage and protect the skin when exposed to UV light. Almonds are high in vitamin E, with just ¼ cup of almonds providing 61% of your daily value.
Green Tea — Catechins
Green tea is high in catechins , in particular epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG is a potent antioxidant that can protect the body from oxidative damage. Research now shows that drinking green tea on a daily basis can even reduce the skin’s sensitivity to UV light and protect the skin from damage. In one study it was shown that EGCGs stopped genetic damage in human skin cells exposed to UV light.
Dark Chocolate — Flavonoids
Dark chocolate has a high concentration of flavonoids such as epicatechins, catechins and procyandins. These are antioxidants that can protect the skin from sunburn and sun damage. Of course, the darker the chocolate the better.
As well as these 6 foods, you can include plenty of other antioxidant and vitamin-C-rich foods such as colorful berries, red and yellow capsicums and citrus fruits. If you enjoy superfoods, try including camu camu powder or acerola powder into your diet for their high vitamin C content.
Note: please remember that these foods offer support for your skin but they don’t negate the proper use of suncream, protective clothing and spending time in the shade during peak hours.