Beach days and pool parties are becoming the weekend norm as we enter a season of warmth. Charleston is especially hot and humid this time of year. I happen to love it and can’t get enough of being outdoors! One thing I have to remember is that sunshine is not always a marker of how powerful the suns rays are. Sunscreen should be something you use on bright sunny days as much as on overcast, cloudy ones. Earlier this week I wrote about nutrients that help protect us from the sun. While foods can’t be a substitute for sunscreen, certain ones boast compounds that offer mild UV-protection. If you want to enhance your body’s natural defenses against damage from harmful UV rays, here are some foods I recommend you incorporate this summer.
Tomatoes: Like I mentioned earlier this week, this red fruit boasts lycopene which is an antioxidant that demonstates mild protection from the sun’s UV rays. Try a tomato sauce with your zuchini noodles or slice fresh tomatoes into your lunch salad.
Watermelon: Its deep ruby red color is also attributed to antioxidant lycopene shown to enhance anti-aging defenses against the sun and block harmful UV rays from potentially causing premature wrinkles, age spots and lines.
Matcha: This bright green powder is becoming trendy and I’ve embraced it with open arms for its taste and nutrition. Matcha contains EGCG which is a powerful polyphenol that may help slow down sun-related skin aging.
Green Tea: This tea is brimming with age-defying antioxidants particularly catechins which are amoung the most powerful antioxidants with demonstrated ability to restore and revive dying skin cells and reverse skin discoloration.
Blueberries: Small in size but powerful in age-defying vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that will enhance your collagen-producing abilities and defend against stress and signs of premature aging induced by the sun.
Dark Chocolate: The darker the better when it comes to our beloved chocolate, chockfull of flavonid antioxidants that help protect the body from sun damage.
Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids are what this healthy fatty fish is known for. These precious fatty acids help guard against sunburn, strengthen cell membranes and prevent collagen breakdown.
Avocados: My favorite fruit and source of plant-based fat happens to also be high in vitamin E. This nutrient is a powerful antioxiant that helps protect, repair and nourish our skin from the inside out. It has also been shown to alleviate and prevent inflammatory damage after UV exposure.