As summer temperatures rise, it’s crucial to take that extra step to protect your skin. In addition to using a high quality sunscreen, loading up on foods that prevent sun damage is key. Getting the right amount of key nutrients can decrease your chances of burning and damaging your skin.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is key and getting tons of good saturated fats, lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids increases your body’s natural defenses against sunburns.
It’s also important to limit or avoid vegetable oils, processed foods, and sugars, as much as possible, to reduce inflammation.
Here are the top 8 foods you can add to your everyday to help protect your skin:
DARK, LEAFY GREENS + CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES
Spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc. are amazing for skin protection. They’re full of radical-fighting, skin-protecting antioxidants, beta-carotene, high levels of folic acid, and vitamins A, C and E. They’re also great for preventing and repairing skin damage.
Broccoli sprouts are a great source of sulforaphane, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from UV radiation and reduces the risk of skin cancer.
Add them into your smoothies and salads, or sneak them into some of your sauces.
RED/ORANGE VEGGIES + FRUITS
Tomatoes, papaya, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and red bell peppers all contain lycopene — an antioxidant that increases sun tolerance, protects your skin from sunburn, and rids your body of free radicals.
- Watermelon contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, pumpkins, and apricots all have beta-carotene — an antioxidant that has natural sunscreen properties.
- Sweet potatoes have more beta-carotene than almost any other vegetable.
COCONUT OIL — EXTRA VIRGIN AND UNREFINED
This healthy fat, in its purest form, has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It also contains 50% lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that increases sun tolerance, boosts immunity, and supports healthy brain function.
Ground flax are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s the highest known plant source that helps reduce inflammation, strengthen immunity, and support cardiovascular health. These seeds have tons of fiber and antioxidants that help protect your skin.
*Note: The seeds need to be ground for their nutrients to be absorbed.
Add ground flax to your overnight oats, to smoothies, salads, sauces, etc.
This amazing superfood contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which protects the skin and eyes from UV radiation. It prevents cell damage, fights free radicals, and inflammation in the body.
It’s an acquired taste that takes some getting used to, but its flavor is easy to hide in smoothies and baked goods. It also comes in tablet form.
This powerful superfood has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect your skin by creating a stronger UV shield and improve your body’s ability to fight free radicals.
Toss them with your favorite roasted vegetables or add them to your soups, milks, and/or teas.
*PRO TIP: Add a pinch of black pepper to increase bioavailability and absorption.
Green tea is packed with the flavonoids polyphenols and catechins that protect your skin from UV rays. Swap out your coffee for a cup of tea.
Dark Chocolate with at least 70% cacao has four times the number of polyphenols and catechins as green tea and provides up to a 25% increase in sun tolerance. These flavonoids improve your skin’s ability to protect against skin damage, including UV-induced sunburns.
Any questions or any insights, let me know in the comments below or tag or DM me @feedyourglow, hashtag #feedyourglow on IG. Enjoy all that sun and vitamin D!
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