Add Another Layer of Sun Protection with These Foods

The direct cause of sunburn to the skin is the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which comes in UVA and UVB forms. UV sunrays trigger production of unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. Excess free radicals created by overexposure to sun may lead to inflammation, skin aging and, potentially, DNA damage that causes cancer.

There are certain foods and nutrients that appear to provide some protection from the damage that UV sunrays can cause. Listed below are some of those foods, but remember that you still need sunscreen! Talk to your dermatologist about the best way to protect your skin and what topical sunscreen may be best for you.

* Omega-3 fish oils

UV sunrays trigger inflammation in the skin, and the body uses messengers it makes from omega-3s to moderate inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 oil include salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, etc.

* Colorful fruits and vegetables

Plant foods like carrots, squash, peppers, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, all types of berries, plums, oranges, etc. have antioxidant properties. When you consistently eat foods containing antioxidants, they accumulate in your blood and tissues like the skin and this may help to neutralize excess free radicals caused by sun exposure.

* Green tea

Polyphenols, found in green tea may be more powerful than antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E. Some studies have hinted that green tea extract may be helpful in protecting skin from UV sunrays. Making your own iced green tea in the summer is a great way to stay hydrated and potentially provide yourself with some extra protection from UV sunrays.

* Cocoa

Cocoa contains antioxidants that, like green tea, may reduce the damage done by UV sunrays. Opt for pure cocoa powder or a small piece of dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa beans.