12 Foods That Boost Your Skin's Natural Sun Protection | Health Pick

12 Foods That Boost Your Skin’s Natural Sun Protection


The foods you eat can seriously reduce your risk for sunburn, sun damage, and skin cancer by supporting your skin’s ability to remain healthy and defend itself against too much sun. Here are 12 foods that science shows naturally boost sun protection and healing in the body:



Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits) are high in vitamin C. Research has found that a long-term intake of vitamin C, together with vitamin E, can reduce the potential for sunburn. Besides being high in Vitamin C, citrus fruits contain limonene, which has been associated with a whopping 34 percent lower risk of skin cancer. Citrus fruits also contain antioxidants, which work to protect your cells from free-radical damage (which happens during sunburn) that can lead to skin cancer.



We all know carrots are touted for your eye health. However did you know they can also help protect your skin? Carrots are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene also helps protect the skin against the free radical damage caused from sun exposure. Because of this, carrots can provide increased protection against sunburn, especially when combined with vitamin E.



Strawberries contain a powerful combination of antioxidants and vitamin C, which both help protect your skin from sun damage. They can also help sunburned skin heal.


When you sip a cup of green tea, your body is getting catechins, which have disease-preventing properties and protect against sunburn inflammation and long-term UV radiation damage. Green tea also has tannic acid in it, which helps calm sunburn pain, and antioxidants called EGCGs. A University of Wisconsin study showed EGCGs stopped genetic damage in human skin cells exposed to UV light.



Pomegranates have been part of a healing tradition that dates all the way back to ancient Egypt! The seeds in this delicious exotic fruit are rich in antioxidants. Pomegranates also contain ellagic acid, which can help protect your skin from cell damage induced by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. In one research study, when pomegranate extract was used in conjunction with sunscreen, it increased the SPF by 20 percent! Pomegranate also increases glutathione, a power-house antioxidant, which also increases protection from free radical damage.



Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which protects and repairs the skin from sunlight. Almonds also contain quercetin, which has been shown to protect against UV damage and the wrinkle-causing breakdown of collagen. One study found that after participants were exposed to UV light, the participants who took the same amount of vitamin E found in 20 almonds had less sunburn than the participants who did not that amount of vitamin E.



Phytonutrients in grapes can slow down the formation of destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) that form in skin cells, which has been linked to sun damage, skin cancer and cell death. Grapes also contain proanthocyanidins and other polyphenols found in the grape’s seeds that inhibit skin cancer induced by UV rays. Grapes also contain quercetin, a study found that quercetin was responsible for lessening oxidative DNA damage caused by UVB exposure, and was able to help protect the skin from related inflammation. Bonus!



Green lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are excellent sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These have been show to halt cell growth prompted by UV light in animal studies.



When you eat tomatoes, you are adding lycopene to your diet. Lycopene is a carotenoid and antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals produced from too much sun, and minimizes any inflammatory response to UV damage by your body, according to Mayo Clinic. This effects is magnified when you eat processed tomatoes (cooked or smashed into foods such as ketchup, tomato paste, or tomato juice), which makes the lycopene more bioavailable. In a German study, participants who ate a quarter cup of tomato paste with olive oil every day for 10 weeks experienced 35 percent LESS skin reddening when exposed to UV radiation than those who did not eat the tomato paste. In another study, people eating five tablespoons of lycopene-rich tomato paste daily for three months experienced 25 percent more natural protection against sunburn.



This staple summer fruit is also high in lycopene and contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes!



Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine have used turmeric for centuries due to its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a “superstar” of foods. Laboratory studies suggest that turmeric can help protect the epidermal skin cells from the damage caused by ultraviolet B radiation (UB radiation).



Omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds can protect your skin from sunburn, reduce additional inflammation if sunburn occurs, and fight against skin cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, flaxseed oil can protect your skin against UV rays and keep your skin moisturized so it won’t dry out, as well as fight against skin cancer. Try adding 2 tablespoons to your next smoothie.


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