In the heat of this wonderful summer, did you know that you can eat to help protect your skin against sun damage?
In addition to diligent sunscreen use* and wearing protective clothing, a rich plant-based diet can offer additional sun protection, thanks to naturally occurring sun protective compounds.
Fruits and vegetables contain a lush supply of phytochemicals and other antioxidant compounds that may decrease the amount of skin damage caused by the sun and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
So here's what you should be noshing during those sunbathing days (in between applications of sunscreen, of course): *by Catriona Harvey-Jenner, June 15, 2016 on Cosmopolitan.com
"Eat a lot of vitamin C-rich berries and fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and kiwi during the summer months," advises Frida. Why? "The vitamin C and the phytonutrient act like a natural sunblock and helps to prevent you from burning," she explains. Well, that's news to us. Roughly 100g of strawberries and 1.5 kiwis is roughly what you need.
It's the starch in potatoes that makes the difference here, as it "helps reduce the harm of the sunburn," says Frida. So does that mean chips all holiday long? Er, not necessarily, sadly. "Sweet potato is a healthier option, and is just like carrots high in the skin-protecting beta-carotene and vitamin C," the nutirionist adds.
3. Green tea
"According to a study, drinking two cups of green or matcha tea a day could lower incidence of melanoma," notes Frida. But she does go on to add that caffeine dehydrates you, so you should limit your intake, and make sure you're swigging lots of water in between.
This is another fruit that's high in vitamin C, and is therefore healing for your skin. "One serving of Guava contains five times more vitamin C than an orange," says Frida. There's one for the pub quiz.
"Oatmeal contains a free radical fighting antioxidant," explains Frida. Don't worry, I didn't know what a free radical was either until I googled it, but basically it's a molecule that causes damage to your skin from what I can gather. And she goes on to explain the plus side of antioxidants: "Briefly, as skin ages and exposure to UV radiation increases, skin cells lose their ability to regenerate". Antioxidants help with this, which is why you'll see the word on a load of anti-ageing products out there.
Cucumber contains mostly water, which helps your skin to stay hydrated (and is also why it feels soooo good when you put it on your eyes). But that's not the only benefit, Frida notes. "The vegetable also helps to produce collagen, which is a good anti-cancer property," she says.