The sun’s rays are probably the biggest contributor to ageing of the skin, yet a little sun is key in vitamin D production. You can actually improve your skins resilience to the sun by increasing the nutrients in your diet. The best foods for summer skin protection contain certain antioxidants, healthy fats, vegetable and fish proteins that can help to build a natural sun protection factor.
For vitamin D production, it is recommended that we expose the skin without sunscreen for 15 minutes each day. If you’re really fair then make sure that you do this early in the morning before it gets too hot and be aware that some sunscreens such as Ultra-sun should be applied an hour before being in the sun to build up to the full strength of their protection. In the UK there isn’t much chance of us getting a 15 minute daily dose of rays so we can top up by adding a vitamin D3 supplement to our diet.
Some of the best foods for summer skin protection:
There is a whole food army out there that will help to protect your skin in the sun. When you think of protection think antioxidants – these are the super potent powerhouses held in fruits and vegetables, eat across the colours of the rainbow for maximum health. Most of them are a big part of the Mediterranean diet.
- The oranges: carotenoids are a specific antioxidant, giving plants their orange colour. One very potent carotenoid is astaxanthin, H3O Night Repair is packed with astaxanthin, it is from the algae that coral feed on and has been clinically trialled to show that just one of its man benefits is protection from the sun. Carotenoids also reduce redness in the skin if it does get inflamed.
- The red’s: tomatoes and watermelon are packed with lycopene an antioxidant which has been proven to provide long-term protection against UV induced effects. According to a recent study published in the Journal of British Dermatology, 20 healthy women, ages 21 to 47, who ate a quarter cup (or four tablespoons) of tomato paste in olive oil every day for three months were more protected against sunburn than those who consumed olive oil alone. The skin of Red Delicious apples contains important chemical compounds called triterpenoids, tests in labs have shown they can help to fight cancer cells. Pomegranates contain ellagic acid, which can help protect your skin from cell damage induced by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Studies have show pomegranates increase the protection of sunscreen by up to 20%. They also help the body to produce more of the super antioxidant glutathione.
- The purples, grapes and berries contain large amounts of polyphenols which help to protect cells and reduce damage from UV exposure.
- Green power, dark green vegetables such as kale and chard are full of both polyphenols and carotenoids. They contain antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, tests have shown these antioxidants halted cell growth prompted by UV light. Green tea is packed with catchecins full of anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Good oils: Omega 3 oils have great anti-inflammatory properties and help to protect against sun damage.
Coconut oil is a source of medium chain fatty acids, they are easily absorbed and used by the body to supply cells with nutrients for repair.
- Turmeric is a wonder spice with incredible antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, in laboratory tests it has shown to give cells protection from UV rays.
- Almond nuts are rich in vitamin E and quercetin, both protect from UV damage.