'Sunblocking' Foods That Protect Your Skin From the Inside Out (PHOTOS)

'Sunblocking' Foods That Protect Your Skin From the Inside Out (PHOTOS)

woman eating frozen yogurt fruitAlthough we tend to think of summer as the one and only time to slather on sunscreen, protecting your skin from the sun is a year-round endeavor. After all, in some parts of the country (hi, Florida!), it's sunny more days than not. In others, even when there's snow and ice on the ground, we're susceptible to UV rays.

Lathering up our bods with sunscreen is an obvious solution to the whole "rays will give you skin cancer" problem. Of course, we should be smart and 100 percent continue to do this, but we can also consider what we're putting into our bodies, as well.

Here, research-proven and expert-approved foods to help protect your skin against UV rays.

 

Zlata Faerman is a full-time publicist, part-time writer, round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor, and a Jersey girl making her way through life in South Florida with her husband, Alex, and their sweet pup, LexZ. She writes about food, health, beauty, relationships, travel, and home, and her work has appeared in Greatist.com, Haute Living, TheDailyMeal.com, and SheKnows.com. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions, Zlata can be found reading an awesome book (translation: trashy magazine), crossing the line between "funny" and "inappropriate," and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of Palm Beach.


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  • Green Tea

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    Green tea catechins may protect against sunburn inflammation and long-term UV damage, notes a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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    The healthy fat is found in salmon, chia seeds and flax seeds. According to Sarah Jacobs, a holistic nutritional counselor and co-founder of The Wellness Project NYC, this powerful anti-inflammatory reduces the negative effects of the sun and can help heal damage that's been done.

  • Dark, Leafy Greens

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    There is some evidence that carotenoid-containing foods, like red, orange, yellow, and dark leafy greens, could potentially offer some phytoprotection from UV rays from the skin, notes Emily Lisciandro, registered dietitian at the OSU Wender Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.

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  • Sweet Potatoes

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    These orange, oval-shaped pieces of goodness are super high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, cancer-causing compounds that damage skin cells and cells inside the body, according to Beth Warren, RD.

  • Dark Chocolate

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    According to certified nutrition consultant and Project Juice co-founder Lori Kenyon Farley, studies have shown that ingesting chocolate with high flavanol levels help reduce sunburns during exposure. Talk about a great excuse to eat that cocoa goodness!

  • Blueberries

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    "One of the antioxidants contained in blueberries is anthocyanin," says Janet Little, a nutritionist at Sprouts Farmers Market. "They give the blueberry its purple-blue color and have been shown to act as a sunscreen, protecting cells from high-light damage."

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  • Shellfish & Wild Salmon

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    Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found in wild salmon and shellfish like lobster and shrimp. According to the Journal of Dermatological Science, astaxanthin can protect against alterations in human DNA induced by UVA light exposure.
  • Sunflower Seeds

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    Vitamin E absorbs the energy of UV rays, making these bite-size treats that are packed with tons of the antioxidant a great choice for protection. With 10 mg in 1 oz. of seed, a serving accounts for nearly two-thirds of your daily recommended allowance.

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  • Carrots

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    Grace Gutierrez, founder of True Grace Skin Care, advises drinking the juice of two carrots diluted in one glass of water per day. The beta carotenes will give your skin extra protection in the sun.

  • Cruciferous Veggies

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    Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprout, are packed with essential antioxidants that protect the skin from free radical damage.
skin general health diets nutrition

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