Summer is the best time to get vitamin D naturally, but it is also the time when the skin gets the most sunburn. The food we eat affects how easily we can get sunburned skin when we are outside. Studies show that some nutrients can actually enhance the skin's natural protection from the sun and protect it from damage.
Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges and grapefruits) are high in vitamin C. Studies have found that long-term intake of vitamin C, along with vitamin E, can reduce the risk of sunburn. In addition to being high in vitamin C, citrus fruits contain the substance lemon, which is associated with a 34% lower risk of skin cancer.
Citrus fruits also contain antioxidants that act to protect cells from free radical damage (which occurs during sunburn) and can lead to skin cancer.
Tomatoes are known to contain lycopene , the antioxidant responsible for their red color, but watermelons actually contain much more of it. Lycopene absorbs both UVA and UVB rays. After daily consumption of watermelon for several weeks, lycopene acts on the skin as a natural sunscreen, in addition to other sunscreens.
Blueberries are rich in powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that can damage the skin due to sunburn. They are also very good source of vitamin C .
By consuming green tea , the body receives catechins, which have the properties to protect against long-term damage caused by UV radiation. Green tea also contains tannic acid, which helps relieve sunburn pain, and an antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been shown to stop genetic damage in human skin cells exposed to UV radiation.
Walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids . Fish and eggs are also good sources of these essential fatty acids. The human body cannot produce only omega-3s, so it is important that they be obtained through diet.
Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is vital for skin health. Beta-carotene provides natural protection from the sun after 10 weeks of regular consumption of foods that contain it. Foods that are rich in this nutrient are carrots and leafy vegetables such as cabbage and spinach.
Lettuce, spinach and blackberries are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids that are good for eye health and have antioxidant activity).
The phytonutrients in grapes can slow down the formation of reactive oxygen species that form in skin cells, which is linked to sun damage and skin cancer. Grapes also contain proanthocyanidins and other polyphenols that are found in its seeds, they suppress the development of skin cancer induced by UV rays.
Grapes also contain quercetin , which studies have shown is responsible for reducing oxidative DNA damage caused by UVB exposure.
Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E , which protects and restores the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Almonds also contain quercetin, which has been shown to protect against UV damage and the breakdown of collagen, which causes wrinkles.
Pomegranate seeds are rich in antioxidants, they also contain ellagic acid , which can help protect your skin from cell damage caused by UVA and UVB rays in the sun. Pomegranate also increases levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that also increases protection against free radical damage.