Superfoods for Skin Protection
July 1, 2022
Foods that Will Help Protect your Skin from Sun Damage
Spending time outside is one of the best things we humans can do for ourselves. Our beautiful Pisgah Valley campus is located in the mountains of North Carolina and we know it can’t get much better than that. Time with mother nature can provide fresh air, grounded sites and sounds, an opportunity for physical activity, connection to the Earth and even provide us with healthy vitamins and minerals whether it be from the exposure to the sun (Vitamin D) or from harvesting edible plants to eat. Too much time in the sun though, and we could put ourselves at risk.
According to foodandnutrition.org unprotected skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes outside. Because of this the American Academy of Dermatology recommends getting Vitamin D from foods. By eating your way towards skin protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays, you can gain protection from the inside out.
Sun Protection Foods- a different type of SPF
Ever had a sinister little bump or growth removed from your skin? Eating these might help keep that spot from coming back: leafy greens. In people with a history of squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, a diet high in leafy greens was associated with a reduced risk of another round of the disease due to its makeup of folic acid, vitamins A, C, and E.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a pigment found in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Here’s the catch with lycopene: it is easier for the body to use the source when it has been heated. In other words, cooked tomato products such as tomato juice and tomato paste are better protection than consuming raw tomatoes (although raw is better than nothing). Other sources of lycopene include watermelon, red oranges, pink grapefruit, and carrots.
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These little seeds, if eaten regularly can help keep the skin suppler and reduce wrinkles. Not a fan of flaxseeds? No problem. Speak with your doctor about an appropriate supplement such as fish oil which has been shown to provide protection to UV rays when taken regularly.
If you prefer your tea hot over cold then you’re on the right track with this beverage. Studies indicate that hot tea is more effective than iced tea at protecting against sunburn, wrinkles and maybe even reducing the risk of skin cancer according to an article by AARP. Green and black teas both contain polyphenols that encompass sun protecting benefits. Dark chocolate, red wine, soy beans and some berries also contain polyphenols.
More Ways to Keep Skin Covered
Of course, nothing beats the tried-and-true basics of skin protection, such as wearing sunscreen (look for the SPF rating on the bottle of at least 30) and wide-brimmed hats, keeping covered, and avoiding the sun during peak hours. But eating more leafy greens, flaxseeds, colorful vegetables and drinking teas certainly couldn’t hurt either.