Prevent Sun Damage: Eat Foods That Boost Your Skin’s SPF
How the Sun Damages Your Skin
Preventing sun damage is a key factor in maintaining healthy skin. But how exactly does the sun damage your skin?
The sun’s UV rays induce the formation of free radicals in your skin, which creates oxidative stress in your body. Free radicals are molecules that have unpaired electrons. When your body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals, these unstable molecules damage the good skin cells and/or create abnormal ones.
Free radicals damage collagen – a protein which provides strength and structure within your skin. Once that collagen is damaged, your skin loses its volume, firmness, and elasticity. Eventually, you start noticing sagging skin and fine lines. Free radicals are the primary cause of premature aging of your skin.
Luckily, there are foods you can eat that will enhance your skin’s ability to neutralize or absorb these free radicals and prevent sun damage.
The ‘SPF Diet’
Incorporating these foods into your everyday diet will help boost your skin’s natural SPF!
The two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in egg yolks are powerful antioxidants that will fight free radical damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. And, for added bonus points, lutein is also great at boosting your skin’s hydration and elasticity.
Beta-carotene, the pigment responsible for a carrot’s orange color is an antioxidant that inhibits the inflammatory response caused by sun exposure.
Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and trout are super beneficial at protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays! These fatty acids are also wonderful at lowering your body’s overall levels of inflammation.
Pomegranates contain ellagic acid which happens to be a natural phenol antioxidant! Glutathione is another antioxidant present in pomegranates. This antioxidant is found in every cell of your body, and is responsible for detoxifying your body from heavy metals and neutralizing free radicals. As you can imagine, it’s an incredibly important nutrient that contributes to maintaining your skin’s great complexion.
Tomatoes contain a carotenoid called lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant capable of absorbing free radicals and preventing cellular damage. It’s imperative to note that lycopene is more easily assimilated in your body when the tomatoes are cooked rather than consuming them raw.
Green tea contains flavonoidsand EGCG (epigallocatechin–3–gallate) which are both antioxidants. Matcha, a powdered green tea, contains a higher concentration of EGCG than your traditional green tea bags, therefore is a superior choice.
The emphasis is on ‘dark’, because the higher cocoa percentage, the greater the polyphenol content of the chocolate. Aim for a bar containing at least 70% cocoa or higher to reap its antioxidant benefits.
Turmeric is both a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It’s at the top of the list of super foods and can protect your skin against damage from UVA and UVB radiation.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Kale, swiss chard, and spinach are packed with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin! They definitely make the cut when it comes to protecting your skin from UV damage.
It’s possible to have your cake and eat it too – well, not literally…But in all seriousness, red wine contains antioxidants that come from its polyphenol content. Remember, the polyphenols come from the tannins in the red grape skins, so stick to red wines only.
And there you have it! Eating these foods will help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. However, keep in mind; it’s still necessary to use sunblock whenever you’re exposed to the sun for extended periods of time.
The ‘SPF diet’, in conjunction with sunblock, and protective clothing will ensure you give your skin the best chance at staying healthy and preserving its youthful appearance.