Monday, May 30, 2011

Can Food Help Prevent Sun Damage?

As a child, and while growing up, few of us used sunscreen. As a result, most of us have sun damage to our skin, especially on our faces. As we get older, we will notice more wrinkles, sun spots and “leathery” skin; with a lot of the damage coming from our fun in the sun.
Luckily, getting older also means getting wiser, and we now take steps to protect ourselves from sun damage. While sunscreen is always the best protection, some foods can help protect your skin, as well as repair damage, from the sun.

Tomatoes: According to research from the University of Michigan, the lycopene and other antioxidants found in tomatoes can help prevent sunburn. Other foods that contain lycopene include pink grapefruit, egg yolks, watermelon and salmon.

Vitamin C: Studies show Vitamin C is a valuable nutrient in collagen synthesis, the protein that helps hold skin together and give it tone. Food sources include oranges, kiwi, red peppers and broccoli.

Essential fatty acids: Several studies show that poly- and monounsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, can minimize sun damage and aging to your skin. Food sources include salmon, tuna, olive oil and nuts.

Vitamin A:  Studies have linked vitamin A levels in the blood with skin dryness; the more vitamin A, the more moist the skin. Food sources include orange, red and yellow vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and cantaloupe, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.

This summer, have fun in the sun, but remember to use proper protection – sunscreen, but also protect and heal the body from the inside out – eat your fruits and veggies!

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