With the summer season officially in full swing here in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to think about protecting and nourishing your skin from the Sun's damaging effects and keeping your skin hydrated. The long, hot sunny days can be harmful to your skin with high temperatures, longer hours of daylight, and harmful UVA and UVB rays. Even though the Sun provides our body with what we need to make Vitamin D which is so critical especially during the colder and darker months, keeping your skin protected is even more important to avoid sunburn, sun spots, premature aging and worse yet skin cancer.
Before heading outside to the beach, pool, park, etc, we normally reach for sunscreen but most often the type of sunscreen used can often cause more damage than good. I suggest that you look for a non-toxic broad spectrum sunscreen that is mineral based and contains zinc oxide and make sure that you apply the proper amount - roughly 2 tablespoons and regularly especially after swimming or sweating.
Sunscreen is one sun protection tactic but did you know there are also nutrients found in everyday foods that can protect your skin from sun damage? Here are a few of my favourites...
Pumpkin seeds: Contain zinc which is often used in mineral sunscreens as it slows down damage caused by free radicals and it aids in collagen and elastin production.
Kale and peppers especially red peppers: They contain Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, to reduce the amount of damaging free radicals caused by sun exposure.
Strawberries: Contain a nutrient called ellagic acid it protects skin from UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
Tomatoes: These beauties contain high levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is believed to protect the skin from UV rays, and their natural acidity helps to reduce acne.
Watermelon: One of the most hydrating foods on the planet is also one of the richest in lycopene to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Pomegranates: Packed full of Vitamin C and has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-aging properties.
So next time you head to the beach or are sitting by the pool why not pack a delicious "skin protecting" summer salad with kale and topped with peppers and pomegranate and strawberries and pumpkin seeds and some watermelon for dessert.