Summer is fast approaching (yay!) and that means more and more time in the SUN (another yay!). I’m not particularly fair-skinned and rarely get severely burned, I do try to take care of my skin. I don’t want to look like Magda from Something About Mary when I’m older. Hubby concurs 🙂 That being said, I do tend to have days in the beginning of the season where I creep a little closer to lobster than human and recently read in the May issue of SELF that sunscreen might not be the only weapon.
Food can help aid your body in its defense against the sun. Here’s what to reach for in the sunny months.
- The Reds/Oranges (Tomatoes, guava, watermelon, apricot) – lycopene contained in the red pigment found in some fruits and veggies soaks up free radicals and helps prevent DNA damage. A study from Newcastle University in England showed that people who ate 1/4 c tomato paste everyday (there are definitely better ways to eat red fruits and veggies!) suffered from fewer sunburns and increased natural sun protection by 1/3.
- Tea/Coffee/Cocoa – Flavonols contained in coffee, cocoa, and teas can help prevent CANCER! A cup or more of tea a day can decrease the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 30% and 2-5 cups of coffee a day can lower the risk of nonmelanomas by 17% (my addiction is all in the name of cancer prevention 🙂 ). Cocoa can make the skin 25% less sun-sensitive.
- The Mediterranean Diet – The much talked about Mediterranean Diet that help the heart can also aid the skin. The inflammation fighting omega-3 fatty acids in fish and the polyphenols found in the citrus, herbs, and veggies may slash your melanoma risk in HALF! They scan the body for potentially cancerous cells and help reverse some DNA defects early on.
- The Greens – Popeye was on the right track with his love of spinach, but in this case it’s skin and not the muscle that’s benefitting. The antioxidants in leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc) scavenge and destroy free radicals. People with a history of skin cancer who ate one serving of leafy greens a day lowered their risk of developing subsequent tumors by ore than 50% according to the International Journal of Cancer.
Luckily for this little family our garden is packed with leafy greens, red, yellow, and orange veggies, and herbs. Sun-fighting superheros right in our own backyard. Or the plans for them anyway. The plants are there and growing big with all the rain we’ve had recently, but little has arrived in the way of edibles. We did get our first goody yesterday, though, in the form of a yellow cherry tomato.
It may not look like much, but that little guy was the sweetest tomato I’ve ever tasted! We’re keeping our fingers crossed he’s not going to be an only child.