The days are getting longer and brighter and we may be drawn to spending more time outdoors. Ah! Beautiful sunshine…
Sunshine, no doubt, is vital for our health. It stimulates essential Vitamin D production, induces feel-good hormones like endorphins and does much more.
But, before we head out to catch the sunny rays, it is important to remember that excess sun can also have damaging effects. Too much can burn our skin, lead to premature skin ageing or even skin cancers.
It’s all about getting the balance right! Here are some tips to help minimize the damaging effects of sun exposure.
TIP ONE: Protective barriers
First and foremost follow the common sun safety guidance. This includes managing the time spent in the sun wisely, and if needed apply sunscreen or cover-up.
TIP TWO: Feed your skin
When it comes to feeding your summer skin from the inside, there are several compounds to think of and here are some important ones.
Carotenoids are a large group of yellow, orange and red pigments found in plants. Beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene have shown to be particularly helpful in protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun with their antioxidant properties.
Foods rich in beta-carotene are carrots, peppers, melon, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Lutein-rich foods include spinach and eggs yolks. In addition, lycopene is present particularly in cooked tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit.
Then we have Vitamin C, which helps to regenerate enzymes that help to quench oxidant-induced damage, is key to healthy collagen production and aids beta-carotenes to do their wonders. Good sources are citrus fruits, kiwis, berries, apples, peppers and broccoli.
Tocopherols like Vitamin E can also assist some of the carotenes to do their jobs, and can be found in nuts, sunflower seeds, olive and hemp oil and avocados.
And equally omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils also have protective properties.
Critical for one of the most important antioxidant enzyme in our body is also Selenium, which can be sourced from brazil nuts, sea foods, meats and eggs.
TIP THREE: Chose colour
Many other natural colour-compounds found in foods are also fantastic for our skin health. More sun-damage-worriers are flavonoids and polyphenols, which all have antioxidant abilities and help our cell repair-enzymes. Good sources are pomegranate, green and black tea, citrus peel, rosemary, grapes and yes even red wine and cocoa!
To make it easy follow the principles of a Mediterranean style diet, which naturally is packed with all those good colourful nutrients to help our skin stay healthy in the sun.
And remember…even when it isn’t all sunshine, you can still eat your rainbow!