Eat Your Sunscreen–Sort Of

Excited girl, cheerfully smiling while looking at camera and eating a watermelon, wearing stylish clothes, yellow sunglasses, posing against the white wall, outdoors.

As more people are spending time in their yards and open spaces during this pandemic, it’s important to remember your sunscreen. Sure, you can reach for a bottle of your favorite physical block product and apply it to your skin, but Kimberly Baden, an esthetician with Rejuvena Health & Aesthetics, also has a list of foods that if eaten on a regular basis will actually protect you from the sun including:

Go green: Think spinach, kale and Swiss chard or artichokes, broccoli, romaine and cilantro. Whether you blend them up with your favorite berries in a smoothie or eat them raw, a recent study found leafy greens may reduce the risk of squamous cell skin cancer by 50 percent.

Load up on lycopene: The good news is all fruits contain lycopene. It’s an antioxidant that enhances the skin’s natural defense against free radicals by 35 percent. From watermelon and papaya to grapefruit and tomatoes, consuming lycopene every single day can provide protection against long-term sun damage.

Boost your broccoli intake: Tiny trees are rich in an antioxidant called sulforaphane and it’s known to help protect our cells against UV radiation. Incorporating a half cup of broccoli into your diet every single day can do wonders when it comes to protecting yourself against skin cancer.

Don’t hold back on dark chocolate: Morsels with at least 70 percent cacao contains four times as many antioxidants as tea. Please note that these antioxidants can protect you from sunburn and skin cancer, but are only found in dark chocolate.

Pour on the pomegranate: Pomegranate-extract supplements up to 60 mg will boost your internal sunscreen by 25 percent. If you’re not into supplements, just eat raw pomegranate to get the same benefits.

Stay saturated: Saturated fats can protect the skin from sunburn if you happen to spend too much time outdoors, and these good fats can also reduce the risk of some skin cancers. Some favorites include butter made from grass-fed, organic milk and coconut oil.

Go over the top on Omega 3: Salmon, sardines, herring, seaweed, flax, hemp and chia seeds are all great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and protect your skin from melanoma and sunburn.

Add some astaxanthin: 550 times more powerful than vitamin E, astaxanthin has shown to protect the eyes and skin against UV radiation. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get beneficial levels of astaxanthin through food alone, but supplementing with 12 mg per day will do the trick to boost your internal sun protection.

It does take time to build this protection up in your system (weeks), so get creative by incorporating these superfoods into your daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat your way toward younger-looking, less-sun-damaged skin and a healthier you too!

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