Protection in the Form of Food

Sunlight exposure can be good for treating skin issues and improving your mood. Although too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. This month is about UV Safety.

This means protecting your eyes and skin from the damaging effects of the sun. What we eat affects everything about us – including our skin. You’ve heard the phrase “food as medicine”? We can significantly affect the health and aging of our skin by incorporating supportive foods. Check out these foods and the nutrients they provide to help you protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun.

Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel, and herring)

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can be the culprit of your dry skin. (Source)
  • Omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Fatty fish is a source of vitamin E… one of the most important antioxidants for your skin.
  • Fatty Fish is needed for maintaining strength and integrity of your skin.
  • Fish provides zinc – a mineral for regulating inflammation, overall skin health and production of new skin cells.

Avocados

  • Avocados are high in healthy fats. These fats benefit many functions in your body in this case we’re talking about the health of your skin.
  • Getting enough of these fats is key to keeping skin flexible and moisturized.
    There is evidence showing that avocados contain compounds that may help protect your skin from UV damage. (Source)
  • Avocados are good source of vitamin E – an antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage.
  • Vitamin E seems to be more effective when combined with vitamin C.

Sweet Potatoes

  • Beta carotene is a nutrient found in plants. It functions as provitamin A – this means it can be converted in vitamin A in your body.
  • Carotenoids like beta carotene acts as a natural sunblock. (Source)
  • When eaten this antioxidant is incorporated into your skin and helps protect your skin cells from sun exposure.
  • Too much beta carotene can make your skin appear orange. 

Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

  • Like the sweet potatoes, bell peppers are an excellent source of beta carotene.
  • They’re also a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for your body to produce collagen…collagen keeps your skin firm and strong.
  • An observational study involving women, linked eating plenty of vitamin C to a reduced risk of wrinkled and dry skin with age.

Broccoli

  • Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals important for skin health including zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
  • Contains lutein, which is a carotenoid that works like beta carotene. Lutein helps protect your skin from oxidative damage that can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled.
  • Sulforaphane (a compound in broccoli) is a powerhouse that may have anti-cancer effects. It works to neutralize harmful free radicals and switches on other protective systems in your body.
  • Evidence suggests sulforaphane may help collagen levels in your skin.

Red Grapes

  • Resveratrol, a compound that comes from the skin of red grapes, made red grapes famous!
  • While resveratrol is found in red wine there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that the amount you get from a glass of wine is enough to have any effect on your skin.
  • Some studies show that resveratrol may help slow the production of harmful free radicals, which damage skin cells and cause signs of aging.

Dark Chocolate

  • Does anyone really need a reason to eat more chocolate? How about this…the effects of cocoa on your skin are phenomenal.
  • Participants in one study experienced thicker and more hydrated skin after 6-12 weeks of consuming cocoa powder high in antioxidants daily. They reported their skin was less rough and scaly, less sensitive to sunburn, and had better blood flow.
  • Another study showed that eating 20 grams of high-antioxidant chocolate every day could allow your skin to withstand over twice as much UV radiation before burning compared to eating low-antioxidant chocolate.
  • Dark chocolate with at least 75% cocoa will help maximize benefits while keeping sugar content low.

It all boils down to this: we are what we eat. Even the quality of the food we eat matters. Try to eat enzyme rich, nutrient dense, non-GMO, organic foods. The foods mentioned here are great options to keep your skin strong, attractive, and healthy.

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