Sunshine, warm sand, beaches and bikinis – what’s not to love about summer? Getting that gorgeous bronze suntan is a bonus, but we all know the havoc too much sunshine can wreak on our skin. While you are enjoying the warm weather and soaking up the sun’s rays for that healthy tanned look, here are some ways you can protect your skin… naturally.
- Eat lots of tomatoes. Tomatoes, particularly when cooked in tomato sauce or paste, contain large quantities of the carotenoid lycopene. In a recent study, healthy women between the ages of 21 and 47 who ate 55 grams (3 tablespoons) of tomato paste every day for 12 weeks experienced a significant increase in protection against sun damage.
- Saturated fat. Don’t just slather coconut oil and palm oil on your skin – eat it! A diet that includes plenty of saturated fats boosts your UV resistance. At least one study showed greatly increased resistance to melanoma growth in mice when fed a saturated fat-enriched diet. Just try and keep it to a minimum… it is swimsuit season, after all!
- Add astaxanthin to your diet. A natural sunscreen, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant and plant chemical that protects plants, particularly algae, from sun damage. Animals that eat the algae, such as salmon, shrimp, lobster and crab, also contain high levels of the chemical. Astaxanthin even gives pink flamingos their rosy hue. A number of studies show astaxanthin is effective in protecting skin cells against UV damage.
- Sort out those omegas. A good dietary balance with more omega-3 (fish oils, green leafy vegetables) and less omega-6 (corn, peanut, soybean oils) will protect your skin and reduce susceptibility to sunburn. An Australian study found that adults with high serum concentrations of the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA had lowered risk of skin cancer. Omega-3 is an excellent source of DHA/EPA, so consumption of omega-3 has a protective effect. Too much omega-6 on the other hand, can increase susceptibility to sunburn.
- Wine, grapes, and berries. Lounging on the beach with a glass of wine while your loyal servants fan you and feed you grapes may sound like the height of indolent indulgence, but it’s actually an excellent way to protect against skin cancer! Wine, grapes, blueberries and pistachios all contain proanthocyanidins, which has been found to prevent UV damage in rodents. Grape seed extract also lowers the risk of skin cancer. Go ahead and indulge!
- Keep your tea green. Tea, especially green tea, contains a complex range of antioxidants, including polyphenols. Not only do these compounds contribute to overall good health, they prevent inflammation and DNA damage that leads to development of skin tumors. You can also apply topical green tea extracts to your skin for extra protection against UV rays.
So as you head out to enjoy the sun and work on your tan, feel free to pamper yourself with a glass of wine, shrimp cocktail with tomato sauce, maybe even a crab and spinach salad. Top it off with fresh blueberries and green tea. It’s not just a delectable summer treat – it’s also an effective sunscreen recipe. Happy summer!
Susan Bodack is a blogger and the Social Media Marketing Manager at InStyleSwimwear.com. For fashion-forward designer swimwear, cover-ups, sandals and accessories, visit them today!