We love soaking up the sun – in a safe and practical way. So while we always slather on sunscreen before heading outdoors, we also eat foods that help provide natural sun protection. Nutritionist Christa Orecchio shares her favorite natural SPF superstars – foods rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and omega-3 fatty acids that can help prevent the signs of aging and provide UV protection.
Eat your sunscreen:
Tomatoes, egg yolks, spinach and broccoli
Christa explains that Harvard professor Salvador Gonsalez suggests lutein found in tomatoes, egg yolks, spinach, and broccoli has preventative properties against UVB-induced skin cancer. However, she warns against overcooking the food to preserve the lutein content, making it a natural sunscreen.
Peppers, carrots and squash
Additionally, Christa points out that a diet rich in these foods provides fourfold protection from UV-radiation induced skin damage. “A diet rich in these foods provides a fourfold increase in protection from UV-radiation induced skin damage.”
Chlorella, spirulina and fish oil
How do omega-3 fatty acids protect your skin? According to Christa, unfiltered fish oil contains the powerful antioxidant astraxanthin (note: Your fish oil should be a rich amber color, not pale yellow). It is derived from algae and thought to be 100 times more effective than vitamin E to clean up pesky toxins, or free radicals in the body. Vegetarian? Consuming algae in the form of chlorella and spirulina will deliver a powerful punch of astraxanthin as well.