Protect Your Skin From Within
Boost your defense against sun damage and skin cancer with just five basic foods.
In the summer, our first instinct is to slather sunscreen on our skin. That’s all well and good, but what if you have ultra-sensitive skin — the kind that burns even with strong sun block on?
The answer lies in food high in anti-oxidants. Such foods reduce the free radical assault by scorching sunrays. Free radicals are highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage cells, and are the cause of many skin problems, from dryness to wrinkles.
Even if you don’t burn easily under the sun, it’s still worth treating your skin to a second line of defense. You could see such foods as your body’s insurance against ageing skin.
Cold Water, Oily Fish
Not only is salmon good for your overall cardiovascular health, its omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation caused by sun damage. Also, skin cells made with monounsaturated fats (such as omega–3s) are better equipped to handle free radicals than cells made with saturated fat. Other omega–3–rich fish include herring, mackerel, trout and sardines. Nutritionists recommend two portions of cold-water fish per week, but taking fish oil supplements can do the trick, too.
Colorful Fruit And Vegetables
Load up on red, pink, orange fruit, like cantaloupe, guava, and pink grapefruit, as they contain lycopene, a naturally occurring type of carotenoid that helps ward off the harmful effects of the sun. Tomatoes are also high in this substance and a 2001 study showed that cooked tomatoes, particularly tomato paste, are even more effective in sun protection as the lycopene gets released even more. Blueberries, strawberries, and red, yellow, and orange peppers are also great sources of lycopene.
Wow, who would’ve thought chocolate would be on the list? It’s the dieter’s choice of an occasional dessert but it has more to it than lower sugar content: it is packed with anti-oxidants found in its cocoa flavonoids. These flavonoids safeguard your skin against photo damage. Be aware, though, that milk chocolate does not have the same effect because milk prevents the absorption of polyphenols, or plant chemicals that have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial capabilities.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Rich in Vitamin A, dark green, leafy vegetables support skin cell rejuvenation. Spinach and broccoli are rich in a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that lower the risk of cancerous growths in the skin.
Green and Black Tea
Both type of teas contain polyphenols that help fight the battle against UV rays. However, green tea has more epigallocatechin–3–gallate (EGCG), the most powerful polyphenol of them all. You can say EGCG is a multitasking chemical that slows down sun-related skin aging, prevents skin cancer, and inhibits tumor cells. What’s also interesting is green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that helps you relax. It also means that it can stop the production of stress hormone, cortisol, from destroying collagen fibers.