Spending a couple of minutes basking in the morning sun is good for your health, but you can risk damaging your skin if you spend too much time under the sun. On the other hand, you can reverse sun damage by incorporating foods that promote skin repair and provide natural sun protection into your diet.
Superfoods for the skin
Your skin is your main shield from external threats, which is why it must be nourished from the inside out to protect it from sun damage and other harmful environmental agents. On top of adopting a good skin care routine, you can add the following superfoods to your regular diet for a daily dose of skin-friendly nutrients.
Avocados – These green fruits contain high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps boost skin health. The vitamin E in avocados helps protect the outer layers of the skin from sun damage, especially when combined with vitamin C, another potent antioxidant. Avocados are also rich in healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which help buffer skin damage caused by UV rays.
Blueberries – Blueberries are some of the richest sources of natural antioxidants. They are particularly abundant in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that can reduce skin inflammation caused by prolonged sun exposure.
Brazil nuts – Brazil nuts are great sources of the trace mineral selenium, which is known to stimulate DNA repair following sun damage.
Cacao – Like blueberries, cacao (dark chocolate) contains flavonoids that help protect against sun damage. Indulge your cravings with a square of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao solids) or add raw cacao powder to your favorite desserts to enjoy its skin benefits.
Carrots – Carotenoids, which are a class of antioxidants found abundantly in carrots, are not just beneficial for eye health. These compounds are also known to help reduce DNA damage, as well as protect the skin from sunburn.
Citrus fruits – Oranges, lemons, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are popular sources of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that supports skin health. Vitamin C helps reduce the damaging effects of too much sun exposure, such as skin inflammation. What's more, vitamin C helps stimulate the production of collagen, which promotes skin elasticity and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are well-known sources of lycopene, another antioxidant that helps reduce skin redness following prolonged exposure to sunlight. Tomatoes are also rich in lutein, an antioxidant that helps stimulate DNA repair after sun damage.
Oysters – Oysters are good sources of zinc, an essential mineral that's important to skin health. Consuming adequate amounts of zinc can help prevent or repair skin damage.
Salmon – The pink color of salmon comes from a potent antioxidant called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a powerful free radical scavenger that helps prevent and reverse skin damage caused by harmful ultraviolet rays. Astaxanthin also helps keep the skin hydrated.
For healthier and more resilient skin, don't just rely on your skin care regimen for sun protection. Help it along by incorporating skin-friendly superfoods into your diet and boosting your natural antioxidant levels.