Boost SPF From the Inside Out!
Vitamin D season is in full swing! While some sun exposure for vitamin D production is great for overall health, getting sunburned is always something to avoid. Everyone knows that excessive UV exposure damages skin. But did you know that the foods you eat regularly can improve your skin’s natural defenses against UV damage? It’s delicious, and true!
The main problem with too much UV exposure is that it triggers oxidative damage that affects skin cells by destabilizing DNA. Runaway DNA damage contributes to skin damage and skin cancers. Luckily, the phytonutrients and antioxidants in food can help block oxidative damage to let the body repair DNA damage and maintain cellular health.Green tea
Green tea is full of the antioxidant EGCG, which among other things, has been shown to reduce the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers. One study found that drinking 2 cups of tea daily was associated with a 35% decrease in skin cancer risk
. Long term tea drinkers’ skin cancer risk was found to be slashed in half! If you’re the spa-going type, consider this: green tea body wraps may also decrease your risk
for developing skin cancer, so drink it, spray it, and slather it on!Pomegranate seeds
Ellagic (“Eh-LAH-jik”) acid, the primary phytonutrient in pomegranate seeds, can actually interfere with UV ray’s oxidative damage by reducing inflammation. In fact, ellagic acid not only targets inflammation — it also protects collagen from being broken down by the sun, meaning fewer wrinkles
. Rosemary and Basil
Rosmarinic acid, the primary phytonutrient found in rosemary and sweet basil, is a potent antioxidant, which has been shown to be protective against toxic chemicals and UV radiation
. This compound down regulates inflammatory molecules that kick into gear as a response to UV light, plus it stimulates melanin production, which is our body’s own defense against the sun’s harmful rays. Grapefruit
Two of the major antioxidants found in grapefruits, naringenin and rutin, have been found to prevent the effects of DNA damage from UV radiation. These “flavonoid” antioxidants can neutralize free radicals near DNA strands, protecting them from mutations that lead to skin cancers. Naringenin is found mostly in grapefruit pulp and juice, and rutin is found primarily in the rind, so remember to use that zest. Real Life Tip:
For a refreshing TMC Nutritionist-approved mocktail, muddle pomegranate seeds, then pour freshly brewed iced green tea and add a splash of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Garnish with basil leaves or rosemary sprigs (“clap” them to bring out the flavor), drink and repeat!