No matter how careful you are to avoid harmful UV rays, sometimes we all get a little too much sun exposure. But did you know that the foods you eat can impact how much damage the sun does to your skin?
These five foods have been shown to help protect the skin in various ways from the sun. Some prevent damage, and some heal it after it happens. Eating a good mix of all of them is a recipe for youthful, long-lived, healthy skin!
Note: None of these foods acts as a substitute for topically-applied sunscreen, but as a supplement, they add additional protection and repair damage that does occur.
Many foods contain the beneficial compound ellagic acid, but strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and pomegranate are some of the best natural sources. Ellagic acid is a natural phenol antioxidant, which may help protect DNA from damage and mutation.
The full scope of ellagic acid’s powers is still being studied, but it may help cancer cells die like normal cells and inhibit the growth of melanoma cells. More cosmetically, there is also evidence that it prevents sun spots and other UV-induced photo aging, such as freckles.
You can also find ellagic acid in walnuts and pecans. So eat up!
Brightly-Colored Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that are brightly colored contain a variety of beneficial antioxidants and other compounds that can help protect your skin from the sun. The best way to get the full range of benefits is to eat a wide range of colors each day.
In particular, orange/yellow fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and squash, contain carotenes. Carotenes are polyphenol antioxidants which have been shown to absorb both natural and artificial UV radiation.
Another great color of fruits and vegetables for your skin is the red set, such as tomatoes. Red fruits and vegetables contain a specific type of carotene called lycopene. Supplementing diets long-term with lycopene-rich foods provides measurable protection from sunburn.
Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are tons of reasons to eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats, found in healthful foods such as flax seed, walnuts, red peppers, spinach, and edamame, are beneficial to the body, and necessary for healthy functioning of many organs.
This includes the largest organ: the skin! When you eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the fatty acids are deposited into your skin. This helps keep your skin youthful, but it also protects from the sun.
Studies have shown that after the omega-3s are incorporated into the skin, the amount of UV-B needed to cause sunburn more than doubles. Over time, if omega-3s are a regular part of your diet, the amount deposited into the skin will increase over time, giving greater protection against UV radiation. Once subjects stopped their omega-3 rich diets, it took 10 weeks for skin to lose the omega-3s deposited there.
Noni fruit is a Polynesian superfood that contains over 165 beneficial compounds in its raw form. It can be eaten or applied directly to sunburned skin, where it starts healing right away.
The compounds in noni include antioxidants, which reduce the breakdown of collagen and fats in skinas we age, a process accelerated by sun exposure. Noni can also erase age spots, help fill fine lines, relieve pain from sunburn, and prevent future sun damage.
Many people take noni in the form of juice. Unfortunately, the process of fermenting the juice causes most of the beneficial compounds in noni to be destroyed. Noni is most powerful when eaten raw, or when the raw pulp is applied topically to the skin.
We’ve found a way to preserve the delicate compounds in the noni pulp by slow-dehydrating the non-fermented pulp with low heat for maximum potency. Eating our noni fruit leather or using our raw noni lotions is an organic way to protect your skin from the damaging sun.
What do you do to stay protected from the sun? Let us know in the comments.