(Natural News) People spend a lot of time outside in the sun during the summer. But although some sunlight is essential for skin health, scientists caution against getting too much. From faster aging to skin cancer, too much sun exposure can pose far-reaching consequences on human health.
In one of her most recent articles published online, Kim Pearson, a London-based nutritionist specializing in skin health, explains that eating certain foods and getting nutrients essential for skin health can protect the skin from the sun.
In effect, this eliminates the need for chemical sunscreens and skin products that pose certain health risks. Plus, proper diet and good nutrition help maintain optimal skin health in the long run.
Best foods for sun protection
Food can act as a natural sunscreen, some better than others. Here are 10 of the healthiest and most potent foods for sun protection. Eat them as part of a balanced diet on a regular basis to maximize their benefits for the skin.
Red and purple grapes contain a group of plant compounds called polyphenols in their seeds. These compounds act as antioxidants to protect the skin from inflammation and cellular damage due to too much sun exposure.
Pungent garlic belongs to the Allium genus of plants, and foods from this group are hailed for their cancer-fighting potential. Garlic oil, for instance, has been studied for its beneficial effects against skin cancer and tumor formation in mice.
Onions contain the same organosulfur compounds in garlic responsible for its cancer-fighting properties. On top of this, onions contain another group of potent plant compounds, called flavonoids, that act as antioxidants for better sun protection.
Recent studies found that the extract, juice and oil of pomegranates are promising natural medicines for skin cancer. Trials on animal models demonstrate that mice fed pomegranate extract experienced reductions in tumor formation and skin cancer risk.
Green tea, one of the most healthful drinks, boasts high amounts of antioxidants in the form of catechins and tannins. Together, these compounds protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Numerous mushroom species have been studied in the past for their promising anti-cancer effects.
For instance, the Chaga mushroom, long used in traditional medicine, has been found to eliminate free radicals and inhibit skin carcinogenesis.
The reishi mushroom, another popular mushroom in traditional medicine, has antioxidant properties that can enhance immune response to cancer cells.
This golden spice isn’t just for curries. It is also great for protection against inflamed, irritated skin and skin cancer. Scientists attribute these effects to curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric.
Recent animal studies found that curcumin can reduce cancerous skin lesions, stall cancer cell proliferation and inhibit tumor formation in mice. (Related: Turmeric OUTPERFORMS conventional chemotherapy drugs in treating all forms of cancer.)
Spinach is one of the healthiest sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants have been studied for their beneficial effects on the eyes, but scientists find that they can also minimize the risk and/or halt the progression of skin cancer.
Other vegetables that have the same protective effects thanks to these antioxidants include kale, collard greens and green lettuce.
Fresh ginger has long been studied and used as a holistic treatment for cancer and the side effects of mainstream cancer treatments.
Thanks to potent compounds like 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, ginger is considered a natural cancer-fighting food capable of minimizing skin cancer risk and stalling its progression.
Findings from animal-based research and small clinical trials indicate that milk thistle, an herb often used to treat liver problems, can also protect the skin from skin cancer due to ultraviolet radiation.
In fact, scientists found that feeding mice silymarin, a compound in milk thistle, helps inhibit tumor formation and blocks cancer cell signaling.
Food can be a natural sunscreen if it contains the right nutrients and beneficial compounds for skin health. Load up on the foods on this list and ditch the chemical sunscreen for healthier skin in the long run.
Read more articles about foods for sun protection at FoodIsMedicine.com.