Summers are the perfect time to be outdoors, play sports, head to the beach, or just take a dip in the pool. While all that is fun, it’s also important not to take the largest organ of your body for granted. Your skin covers a total area of about 20 square feet. It protects you from microorganisms and harsh weather, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat and cold.
However, one of the biggest causes of skin damage and aging is exposure to the sun. Because this damage is slow and happens over a long period of time, it’s hard to notice. You can protect your skin by making sure you have ample sunscreen on but your diet also can help your skin cope with sun damage. Here are 9 foods that can help fortify your skin against damage caused by sun exposure.
These juicy red fruits contain a combination of vitamin C and antioxidants that are effective in protecting your skin from damage due to sun exposure. Strawberries are helpful in treating your skin externally too. If you have sunburn, just mash a few strawberries, apply it to the burned skin and rinse after a few minutes. Your sunburn will heal much faster.
It’s common knowledge that carrots are great for eye health. They are also good for protecting your skin. Carrots get their orange color from a compound called beta-carotene. This compound helps protect your skin by fighting and neutralizing free radicals that are produced due to sun exposure.
3. Red Grapes
When your skin is exposed to the sun, chemical compounds known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed which could cause skin damage, skin cancer, and cell death. Red grapes contain phytonutrients that can fight skin damage caused by reactive chemicals like ROS. A study conducted by Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found that quercetin, a compound found in red grapes, was responsible for lessening oxidative DNA damage caused by UVB exposure.
4. Green Tea
There are many reasons to have green tea every day. One of the compounds in green tea, catechins, is an antioxidant that helps fight disease, repair UV radiation damage, and inflammation caused by sunburn. Green tea also contains antioxidants known as EGCG. A study done by the University of Wisconsin showed that EGCG stopped genetic damage in human skin cells exposed to UV light. If that’s not enough, green tea can also help you reduce weight.
In a research study, when pomegranate extract was used together with sunscreen, it increased the SPF by 20 percent. Pomegranates also contain ellagic acid, a natural phenol antioxidant which has been known to protect your skin from cell damage induced by the ultraviolet radiation. Also, glutathione in pomegranates increases protection from free radical damage.
6. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are a great source of natural omega-3 fatty acids that can protect your skin from sun damage, reduce inflammation due to sunburn, and also fight skin cancer. Flax seed oil can also be applied to the skin as a moisturizer and a natural sunscreen to protect your skin against UV radiation.
Almonds are the perfect skin food. They are one of the best sources of vitamin E which repairs and protects your skin against sun damage. Studies have also shown that consuming vitamin E can reduce the effect of sunburn on the skin. Another compound found in almonds that can help your skin against UV damage is quercetin. It helps protect against the breakdown of collagen, a process which causes wrinkling.
8. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are full of goodness and one just can’t have enough of them. They are a rich source of vitamin C and several other nutrients essential for the body. Research has found that long-term consumption of vitamin C, along with vitamin E could help in reducing sunburn. They also contain limonene and antioxidants which can lower the risk of cancer by up to 34 percent.
To study the effects of tomatoes on sun damage, a study done in Germany asked participants to have a quarter cup of tomato paste with olive oil every day for 10 weeks. It was found that the participants experienced 35% less skin reddening when exposed to UV radiation than those who did not eat the tomato paste. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called Lycopene that helps to neutralize the free radicals produced from excessive sun exposure and minimizes inflammation caused due to UV radiation.