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Summer is here and although we should all be wearing sunscreen everyday, sun protection becomes a priority in these summer months. Because UV exposure is the most common reason for skin diseases we should all be used to wearing sunscreen to protect our skin by now, but what we don't know is that inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage all play an important role in determining how extensive the damage from the sun can be. Luckily there are foods you can eat that can help reduce the risk of the sun's harmful rays causing damage to your skin.
High in vitamin E and polyphenols, daily ingestion of unheated olive oil can protect your skin. Vitamin E has been shown in numerous studies to protect against oxidative stress and reduce photo damage from UVB radiation.
Carrots are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene — a nutrient that is known to help protect the skin against the free radical damage from sun exposure.
Well-known now for containing omega-3 fats, walnuts have also been found to protect your skin. Walnuts help the cells in your outer layer of skin fight UV radiation by preventing cell breakdown, or apoptosis.
Tomatoes provide lycopene which can neutralize the harmful effects of UV light by scavenging skin-damaging free radicals.
Apples have the highest concentration of polyphenols of any fruit, which means they are a powerhouse when it comes to summer skin care. Polyphenols are plant-based compounds that help regulate inflammation, oxidative stress, and the immune system.
Salmon provides an excellent source of omega 3-fatty acids. These essential fatty acids can help protect the skin from UV damage and premature aging. In addition to omega-3's, salmon contains astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives salmon its pink color, is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to scavenge free radicals created by skin exposed to ultraviolet rays and to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with sunburn.
Tea and Coffee
Another source of polyphenols, tea and coffee also act as antioxidants that can boost skin health.
Broccoli, like apples, is a polyphenol champ. It's the vegetable with the highest count of polyphenols. As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli also fights inflammation, with recent studies showing broccoli sprouts to be helpful in protecting against cancer. A compound in broccoli, sulphorane, has been shown to activate our skin's defense system when we are exposed to UV light.
This kitchen favorite may be the most protective herb when it comes to sun protection. Basil contains an antioxidant zeaxanthin that helps filter UV light from the retina, protecting your eyes.
Spinach contains healthful fatty acids, similar to Salmon. In addition, spinach provides plenty of beta-carotene and vitamins that help protect the skin.
So try and get these foods into your daily diet, plus use sunscreen everyday and your skin will be protected from those harmful UV rays!
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