Think the only way to avoid sunburn is to stay out of the sun? Well, you’re right. But, with the possible exception of Robert Pattinson, most of us want to soak up vitamin D this time of year. To prevent sunburn, we knowthe standbys: Coppertone. Wide brim hats. Fashionable swim hoodies. But, get this: we can also boost protection from the inside: with nutrition.
Author and health expert George Mateljan of the World’s Healthiest Foods Foundation writes that by eating certain foods “you will not be replacing the protection sunscreen gives your skin cells, but you will boost the vitality and resilience of your skin, so UVA and UVB sunlight aren’t as likely to transform your skin cells into [malignant] sunburn cells.”
Researchers in Germany proved this in a study testing the effects of antioxidant-rich diets and UV resilience. They found that individuals whose diets included tomato paste and olive oil experienced 35% less skin reddening than the control group.
The secret to these “sunscreen foods”? Their antioxidant and phytonutrients stop cancerous cell mutation that occurs during UV exposure. Although we can’t trade in our SPF for a blueberry smoothie, we can boost our cells’ regeneration power with foods rich in vitamins C and E, lycopene and selenium. These free radical fighting enzymes repair damaged cells and strengthen UV resilience from the inside. Here’s our list of sunscreen foods to pack into your beach bag:
–Brazil nuts: rich in selenium
-Tomatoes: packed with lycopene
–Olive oil: the only oil highest in monounsaturated fat and full of antioxidant vitamin E
-Raspberries & blueberries: full of vitamin C, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, some of the most powerful natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories
–Oranges, lemon, and lime: citrus fruits full of free radical fighting vitamin C, as well as skin cell protector limonene
-Dark leafy greens (especially kale, collards, and turnip greens): jammed with vitamin E and super food carotenoids
Sources: Hands in Sun Image