Yesterday we touched on one of the problems of getting too little sunshine… vitamin D deficiency. But getting too much can be a problem too, leading to skin damage and even cancer. If you spend a lot of time outdoors it can be a bit of a balancing act.
Your best bet is to head for the shade after 15 to 20 minutes in the sun. But if you’re unable to get out of the sun, or you’re simply having too much fun, you need a backup plan. A good mineral sunscreen, a hat and long sleeves can help.
But, believe it or not, you can give yourself a little extra protection against sun damage by making the right choices in your kitchen too.
Following are seven common foods that could help you build a barrier against too much sun.
Hopefully you’re eating lots cruciferous veggies such as broccoli anyway. And if you are, you’re already building up some protection against too much fun in the sun. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with free-radical fighting antioxidants, which can help fend off sun damage reducing your risk for skin cancer.
2. Dark chocolate:
Without a doubt dark chocolate wins the most votes for our favorite way to help ward off sun damage around here. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, eating dark chocolate for 12 weeks reduced sun damage by 25 percent in a group of volunteers. Talk about a prescription we can all get behind!
Research out of the University of Arizona uncovered a grapefruit compound called limonene, that experts say could lower your risk of skin cancer up to 34 percent. Not a grapefruit fan, or need to avoid it because of a medication you take? No problem. It turns out any citrus fruit will give you a shot of limonene.
4. Green tea:
When the weather turns warm don’t give up your green tea habit. Green tea contains chemical compounds and antioxidants that can help protect your skin against sun damage and may even reduce your risk for skin cancer. And all it takes is one to two cups a day.
If it’s hot out feel free to pour your tea over a tall cup of refreshing ice. Experts say green tea offers the same protection whether it’s served up hot or cold.
5. Flaxseed oil:
Just in time for summer salad season, it turns out that the omega-3s in foods such as cold-pressed, organic flaxseed oil may help protect your skin, as well as your heart. Not only do omega-3s protect against free radical attack, they’re also linked to lower rates of skin cancer.
According to the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University, pomegranate fruit could help protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. You can thank the high levels of ellagic acid in the deep red treat for the one-two protective punch.
7. Tomato paste and olive oil:
It turns out a combination of simple tomato paste and olive oil could help you battle the sun rays too. In a study out of Germany a group of fair skinned folks who tend to burn, not tan, had their sun sensitivity reduced by up to 35 percent when they ate five tablespoons of tomato paste (usually spread on bread) and less than a tablespoon of olive oil every day for 10 weeks.
These foods alone won’t give you all the sun protection you need, of course. You should still keep your mineral sunscreen and hat close by. But when you’re out enjoying a summer’s day, every bit of protection helps, especially the kind you don’t have to worry about reapplying!