Summer is coming and boy, do I love to scoop up the sunshine! It is a definite mood-booster and a natural way to get the vital vitamin D for improving your immune system and bone health.
However, we have to be careful with those golden rays. Too much UV exposure from the sun can cause accelerated aging, wrinkles and cancer. Who wants that? The key is to strike a balance. We can protect our skin with hats, sunscreen and eat the foods that have UV protective powers. I bet you didn’t know that skin care could be tasty! What I find interesting is that the foods protecting our skin happen to be abundant in the summer months — when we need them most! Our creator had a good plan, and if we just stick to what the Mother Earth provides for us, we are all good!
Here are my top 5 foods and a recipe to get you started on your skin protection plan because if you’re like me, you’re craving the sunshine!
Start your morning with a cup of green tea or make a batch of green sun tea to sip by the pool. Green tea is a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to help reduce skin inflammation and irritation caused by sun exposure. Plus, these antioxidant properties combat the free radical damage caused by sun exposure.
Chop up Brazil nuts (because they are big!) and toss some on your cereal or nibble on for a snack daily. Just 1 or 2 Brazil nuts per day provide the recommended daily intake of the antioxidant mineral selenium. Selenium helps to slow down the aging process caused by sun damage.
You can toss in a salad or blend in a smoothie. When it comes to beta-carotene, kale puts carrots to shame — it’s one of the most abundant sources. Beta-carotene converts in the body to retinol, an active form of vitamin A, which protects against oxidative stress and UV damage. And since kale is a dark leafy green, it’s alkaline-forming and contains many other antioxidants and phytosterols shown to help protect the skin from sun damage.
Use olive oil in your salad dressings or try tossing some Kalamata olives in your salad — love them! The high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of these little nuggets pack a powerful punch in protecting against sun damage. Olives are rich in antioxidant vitamins A and E, which help protect the surface of the skin. Plus, the anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits of olive oil will help to soothe sun-burned skin.
These versatile beauties get their color from the bright red carotenoid, lycopene. Lycopene acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting the skin from UV exposure. For better absorption, combine lycopene-rich foods — such as tomatoes and watermelon — with healthy fats from foods like olives, avocados and hemp seeds. Try my Tabouli with Hemp Seeds. It combines tomatoes with omega-3-rich hemp seeds for optimal absorption. Serve with a bowl of guac for even more lycopene absorption and deliciousness.
Here’s a couple great recipes for staying healthy in the summer sun:
Now you are armed with some fresh simple recipes to protect your skin and keep your body light and energized for summer! Next week, I will look at the best sunscreens to use and feature another recipe with these power foods. Stay tuned 🙂
Enjoy the Sunshine!