Did you know that what we eat can have an effect on how our skin reacts to the sun? Some things we put in our bodies can make us more sensitive to sunlight, like saccharin and ibuprofen. While some foods can actually help better protect us from the sun’s rays.
This doesn’t mean I’d recommend skipping sunscreen. As someone with a family history of melanoma and multiple skin biopsies myself, I’m a stickler for the stuff. Since I’ve become pregnant, I’ve stuck with natural, mineral sunscreen, like Alba Botanica.
However, I also try to include sun-protecting foods in my diet, especially during these hot months, to further aid the sunscreen in protecting my more sensitive skin.
- Tomatoes : Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene (organic tomatoes contain more lycopene than conventional, and tomato paste or cooked tomatoes contain even more), which has many benefits, including protecting skin from sun damage. Studies have shown that 16 mg of lycopene each day (the amount you would get from 3 oz of tomato sauce) can increase sun protection by 30%!
- Carrots : Carrots, and other foods rich in beta-carotene, such as pumpkin, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, etc, have been linked to reduced reactions to sunburns.
- Spinach : Is there anything spinach can’t do? Along with other dark, leafy greens like kale, collards and broccoli, spinach is rich in carotenoids as well as antioxidants lutein and quercetin, which help protect your skin from sun damage, certain skin diseases, rashes and dry skin.
- Black, White and Green Teas : Tea contains epigallocatechins (10 points to whoever can actually pronounce that word!), also known as EGCGs. EGCGs have been shown to block DNA damage in human skin cells from UV light. Tea is also packed with polyphenols and one study showed that people who drank 1 cup a day had a lower incidence of melanoma.
So enjoy the sun this weekend- lather on your SPF and eat a spinach salad with your iced tea and know you’re playing it safe!
What’s your favorite sun-protecting accessory?
I love the big, floppy ‘honeymoon’ hats- I think they’re so cute!