HEALTH

Foods to Boost Your SPF

You know to use sunscreen when you head out into the sun this summer, but did you know that what you eat can also help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays? Adding these healthy foods to your diet may help lessen your chances of burning and developing skin cancer

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a delicious addition to any meal, and they just happen to be great for shielding your skin from the sun. The antioxidant lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, reduces your skin’s sensitivity to sunburn.

In this case, the cooking process makes the food better, as lycopene increases with cooking. Tomato paste has much more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Research from Newcastle University in England showed that those people who ate about a quarter cup of tomato paste each day suffered from fewer sunburns and raised their skin’s natural sun protection by one-third.

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Watermelon

Next time you’re at the supermarket, scoop up a watermelon to bring home for your family. It could offer skin protection when you’re hitting the beach. The sweet melon has high levels of lycopene, which absorbs free radicals and aids in preventing DNA damage. It’s a great fruit to snack on this summer to prevent skin cancer and lessen your chance of getting a painful burn.

RELATED: Medicine Hunter Discusses Sun-Protecting Foods 

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Berries like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are rich in antioxidants, which can help guard against sunburn. Berries are also full of lycopene like tomatoes and watermelon—it’s what gives them their bold red color. So keep munching on those delicious berries all day long—it’ll pay off when you’re less apt to get a pesky burn when you’re out in the sun. Try goji berries for a different taste.

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Spinach

Spinach has had a strong presence since the days of Popeye, but it does more for your health than giving you strength. The vitamins in raw spinach give you effective natural sun protection along with slowing your skin’s aging process. Those antioxidants that are loaded in dark greens disperse in your body and destroy free radicals from the sun.

People with a history of skin cancer who ate one serving of leafy greens a day decreased their risk of developing more tumors by greater than 50 percent, the International Journal of Cancer found. Try lightly cooking spinach to maximize the absorption of antioxidant vitamin E and phyto-antioxidants like beta-carotene.

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6. Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

You’ve probably heard of beta-carotene, but did you know what it can do for your skin? This carotenoid protects it from sunburn by giving the skin a darker tint. Sweet potatoes are loaded with this, as well as carrots. Carotenes are responsible for the orange color. Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C, which adds to their effectiveness as an antioxidant. The darker the color of a sweet potato, the higher in concentration it is with beta-carotene.

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Salmon

The omega-3 found in fish like salmon, trout, herring and mackerel does double-duty on your skin. It raises its natural protection while reducing inflammation in the case of too much sun. Overall, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish lower your risk of melanoma, which is a deadly type of skin cancer. Eat two servings of fish per week to obtain a sufficient amount for benefitting your skin.

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Green Tea

Your morning pick-me-up could lower your risk of developing skin cancer. Green and black teas have antioxidants called polyphenols which can offer skin protection by working from the inside, out. Research shows that drinking two or more cups of black or green tea a day may decrease the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, by 30 percent.

Green tea is known to be the more powerful of the two, because it fights damaging rays from the sun to prevent pre-cancerous skin lesions. And for you coffee drinkers—drinking two to five cups a day is said to lower your risk for non-melanomas by up to 17 percent.

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Hot Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Pieces

Enjoying a popular sweet could offer you sun protection. Dark chocolate, which is derived from real cocoa, protects your skin from burning and is a strong antioxidant. The source of dark chocolate’s antioxidants, flavanol, can reduce reddening after UV exposure and make skin more moist and less scaly. Consuming two ounces of dark chocolate each day is a healthy way to obtain its benefits. You can eat dark chocolate or drink cocoa to get a healthy fix. Studies have shown that cocoa can make skin up to 25 percent less sun sensitive.

Esben Emborg

Foods to Boost Your SPF

You know to use sunscreen when you head out into the sun this summer, but did you know that what you eat can also help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays? Adding these healthy foods to your diet may help lessen your chances of burning and developing skin cancer

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