To protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays, we are advised to avoid excess sun exposure and apply sunscreen. Sun protection is not just about what you put on our skin or how well you avoid the sun; it’s also matter of what foods you consume. Yes, that’s right: certain foods protect skin from sun damage. These foods below offer skin incredible sun protection, without the toxic sunscreens or being forced to avoid a beautiful day outdoors.
While these foods do offer sun protection, they are only a complement to your regular sun protection regimen. Pair a diet rich in the following five foods with a sunscreen brand that is toxic-free and safe for use. This list is meant to empower your diet and protect your skin even further from harmful UV rays.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are harnessed with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3s protect the skin from free radical damage, such as that caused by the sun, and can even protect against skin cancer.
2. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers contain lycopene, a carotenoid that gives certain fruits and vegetables their red color. One study showed lycopene to protect against ultraviolet B-induced photo damage. Beta-carotene, which is another type of carotenoid found in red and orange-colored fruits and vegetables, reduces skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
3. Dark Chocolate
We didn't need promises of sun protection to justify indulging in chocolate once every day, but this fact most certainly helps. A study demonstrated that regular consumption of chocolate rich in flavanols may be effective in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. Opt for a dark or raw chocolate to get the most benefits.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals, including those linked with skin cancer. Meanwhile, a research study has indicated that a naturally-occurring compound in broccoli called sulforaphane has chemopreventive properties.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is chockfull of catechins, which prevent disease and protect against sunburn inflammation and long-term UV radiation damage. Green tea also contains tannic acid, which calms sunburn pain, as well as antioxidants called EGCGs. EGCGs have been shown to stop genetic damage in human skin cells exposed to UV light.
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Photo Credit: Lee McCoy