Keep your skin happy and healthy throughout the summer and protect your skin
When the sun comes out, we’re all guilty of digging out our favourite pair of shorts and dusting off a trusted tank top to ensure we can enjoy the hot weather in all its glory. However, over time the sun’s UV rays can seriously harm our skin, which can lead to chronic diseases, such as cancer. Although it is vital to take precautions, such as limiting time in direct sunlight, wearing hats and sunglasses, and of course smothering our skin in factor 50, our diet can also help to keep us safe in the summer sun.
Nuts and seed
Snacking on a handful of nuts and seed each day can bring a variety of benefits, such as supplying your body with fibre, protein, and vitamins, while also delivering slow-release energy. Walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds all contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help our bodies cope with stress caused by prolonged sun exposure. Omega-3 also works as an anti-inflammatory, too.
Lycopene is a natural pigment that gives certain fruit and veg, such as watermelon, tomatoes and papayas, their bright red colour. As lycopene absorbs both UVA and UVB radiation, scientists have suggested if enough is consumed over a number of weeks, it can act as a sunblock. This means that reaching for a slice for a healthy snack or blending a few cubes up in a juice can help to protect your skin against sun damage. However, it is important to still wear sunblock and to take other necessary precautions to protect yourself from the sun.
Is there anything this delicious fruit cannot do? Avos are well known for being high in good fats, which are essential for maintaining healthy, flexible and moisturised skin. Studies have suggested that they contain compounds that can protect your skin from UV light and sun damage. Avocados are also high in vitamin E, which protects skin against oxidative damage and combines with vitamin C – a vitamin essential for the production of collagen.
In 2010, a study found that a flavanol – known as EGCG – found in both green and black tea led to fewer tumours induced by UV light in mice (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). EGCG has been linked to preventing DNA damage from UV rays, while also killing systemic bacterial inflammation for smoother, toned skin. Green tea will also keep you hydrated in warmer weather; each day, we should aim to drink 1.2 litres of water to reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles and dry skin.
These small-but-mighty berries are packed with antioxidants that fight off free radicals that can damage skin through sun exposure. By neutralising some of the harmful free radicals, blueberries help to safeguard DNA, preventing the development of diseases, such as cancer. As they contain high levels of vitamin C, they will also work to prevent wrinkles. If you want to eat particularly powerful blueberries, go foraging to find a wild variety.