Eat Your Sunscreen!

 

Foods that boost the SPF of your skin - from the inside out!

 

Eating the right foods can help us improve our skin from the inside out - even boosting the natural SPF of our skin! Foods that are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and omega-3s can help to provide an added layer of protection for the skin from UV damage, and may also help to repair UV damage, and prevent the signs of aging.

 

Antioxidants - An Army Against Free Radicals

Antioxidants such as carotenoids give foods their vibrant colors, and are critical to the photosynthetic process, protecting a plant from damage by light and oxygen. By consuming plants or organisms that contain these pigments, people can gain a similar protective benefit. Antioxidants and other key nutrients protect cells from oxidation, encourage cell growth, fight inflammation and boost our skin’s ability to prevent free radical damage. When the skin is exposed to the sun or other sources of radiation, this causes free radicals to form - which can damage the membranes of skin cells and harm the DNA of that cell. Antioxidants slow or prevent the effect of free radicals and oxidation - which can lead to cell dysfunction. We can see oxidation in action when a sliced apple turns brown. But a little squeeze of lemon juice can prevent the oxidation - providing antioxidant protective-effects. Oxidative stress appears to be an important part of many human diseases - linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, macular degeneration, as well as the signs of aging. In addition to helping fortify cells against free radicals, antioxidants also encourage cell and tissue growth, helping the body to repair itself.

 

Eating an antioxidant-rich diet - commonly found in fruits and vegetables and other foods - can protect and repair the cellular walls. Important antioxidants for boosting the SPF of the skin include:

 

Lutein

An important antioxidant found in egg yolks and vegetables such as kale, broccoli, carrots and spinach that helps us to maintain healthful eyes, teeth, bones and skin as we age.

  • According to Dr Salvador Gonsalez of Harvard University, “Lutein has been widely recognized for its eye health benefits for several years. But, our data is the first of its kind to suggest that lutein may have the potential to act as a preventative agent against UVB-induced skin cancer. In addition, these data suggest that lutein protects the skin against damage caused by exposure to UVB light, further validating our position that lutein is a critical component to overall skin health."

  • Lutein appears to be sensitive to cooking and storage. Prolonged cooking of green, leafy vegetables appears to reduce the lutein content. Eggs are best when not overcooked to preserve more of the lutein in the yolks.

  • For individuals lacking sufficient lutein intake, lutein-fortified foods are available, or a sublingual spray is available.

Zeaxanthin

Another carotenoid antioxidant with skin-friendly properties, shows up in yellow-orange foods such as orange peppers, carrots, and squash.

  • A study published in the Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin provided a four-fold increase in protection from UV radiation-induced skin damage, and a six-fold increase in protection when a topical application of the nutrients was added.

Astaxanthin

 

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