If you want to feel and look fabulous in Summer, by which I mean feel healthy, you should sun protect your skin from UV damage and skin cancer without using sunscreens and sun lotions that are full of harmful sunscreen ingredients and chemicals (which I talked about it in How to Protect Our Skin from Sun Damage Part I), but also how to help your body to deal with the UV sun damage that has already occurred.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t realize that ultraviolet rays can do significant damage to our skin by forming free radicals in the skin cells; recent research indicates a strong link between free radicals and the risk of disease.
Fortunately, our bodies can produce antioxidant compounds on their own naturally to neutralize free radicals before they can harm our biological processes. We can help the process by eating foods rich in antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, E and D as well as selenium and omega-3, all of which can significantly reduce the inflammation and skin damage caused by over exposure to the sun.
Some basic steps you can use to sun protect your skin in summer with antioxidant organic whole foods:
1. Incorporate more healthy natural Super Foods in your diet = foods rich in antioxidants
(dont forget to buy them organic to take advantage of their organic food benefits)
bright-colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches, apricots, watermelon, berries to get more Vitamin A;
oranges, lime, kiwi, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, berries, tomatoes to get more vitamin C;
walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables, barley, millet to get more vitamin E;
incorporate more lycopene rich foods such as cooked tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, apricots to protect your skin from sun damage;
shellfish, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, eggs, legumes, chicken and garlic to get more Selenium; and
wild salmon, walnuts, flax seed to get more Omega-3 fatty acids;
2. Be moderate and be selective with your exposure to the sun – the healthiest sun is before 10:00am and after 5:00pm. This is the best time to minimize the most harmfull peak exposure you get when the sun is overhead, while still getting sufficient exposure to produce vitamin D, which is required for the absorption of calcium, necessary for protecting muscle weakness, important for preventing and treatment breast and colon cancer, and osteoporosis, necessary for normal function of thyroid and normal blood clotting.
We also can find vitamin D in: fish liver, dairy products, dandelion greens, oatmeal, salmon, sardines, sweet potatoes, tuna and vegetable oils.
3. As I mentioned in How to Protect Skin from Sun Damage – Part I, avoid eating carrots, celery, parsley, parsnips and limes before going to the beach - they may make – your skin very sensitive to the sun;
As for me, I always try to obtain antioxidants from whole foods instead of supplements and try to get a healthy suntan by exposing myself to the direct sun only very early in the morning instead of using sunscreens full of harful sunscreen ingredients and chemicals. At other times, I use sunblock clothing and sun protection hats to reduce sun wrinkles and sun damage on face.
A healthy life style and a healthy diet are the keys to a younger and healthier skin as well as to a younger and healthier You. Let us be Sun Smart, shall we?
Breathe, smile and be happy.
© Irina Wardas, HHC
Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition and Relationship Counselor and Coach