There is nothing that will replace the use of sunscreen and sun protective clothing when you are spending time outdoors, but did you know there are foods that can help boost your body's own sun protection against the harmful ultra-violet (UV) rays, and even help repair some skin damage?
There are no foods that replace sunscreen entirely, but adding these foods to your diet may be the extra sun protection boost you need in the fight against skin cancer. So, pour yourself another cup of java and start planning menus with more of these healthful fruits and vegetables. Here are five foods that are easy to incorporate into your diet for sun protection and help reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Tomatoes are naturally rich in lycopene, a carotene that is known to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 3. Cooked tomatoes have a higher concentration of lycopene than raw tomatoes, and you'd have to eat a lot of either version to get full protection so you certainly can't count on tomatoes alone as your sun protection (especially when outdoors) but adding them to your diet regularly will help defend your skin against the sun's rays.
The flavonoids in grapes have been found to stop the formation of harmful molecules caused by UV rays which cause damage to the skin.
Recent studies have shown that the anthocyanins that make strawberries red decrease the amount of damage to skin cells when exposed to the sun with higher concentrations of it seeming to create a stronger defense.
4. Yellow Onions
Foods such as yellow onions, which are rich in polyphenols have been found to not only prevent DNA damage to skin cells caused by UV rays, but also help to repair it.
While some doctors may tell you to curb your caffeine intake, researchers have found that caffeine can reduce your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by as much as 20 percent, and found that the more you drink the more you reduce your risk of developing the disease.
6. Unprocessed Chocolate
A number of studies demonstrated that regular consumption of a chocolate rich in flavanols like raw cacao, offers significant sun protection and therefore protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Note that processed, conventional chocolate does not have this same effect.
Editor's Note: Here at Naturally Savvy, we turn to Goddess Garden for a natural, organic, non-toxic sunscreen, when we are looking for protection from the sun.