Sun and Your Health
After a long winter, when the warm weather finally approaches, most of us can’t wait to get outside and into the sunshine. But with the increased exposure to the sun comes an increased risk of sunburn and the potentially harmful effects of too much sun exposure. While reducing the amount of time we spend in direct sunlight and ensuring we have adequate protection is the best way to prevent sun damage, our diets may also play a role in helping to reduce the negative effects of sun exposure.
Eating a diet high rich in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables helps provide our bodies with a variety of antioxidants that may help offset the free radical damage from the sun’s rays.
· Carrots are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps protect the skin against the free radical damage caused from sun exposure.
· Strawberries contain a powerful combination of antioxidants and vitamin C. Both of these help protect your skin from sun damage.
· Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which protects and repairs the skin from sunlight. Almonds also contain quercetin, which has been shown to protect against UV damage and the wrinkle-causing breakdown of collagen.
· Red Grapes contain phytonutrients which can slow down the formation of destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) that form in skin cells which have been linked to sun damage, skin cancer and cell death.
· Tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene which is a carotenoid and antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals produced from too much sun and helps minimize inflammatory responses to UV damage by your body.
While our diets can work to help protect our skin from the sun, the safest and best approach to protecting ourselves from the damaging effects of the sun is to avoid exposure during peak hours, seek shade and wear proper sun protection such as hats, sunglasses and long sleeves. For a list of other safe sun practices click here. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety.html
Denise Boyd, BSc, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RNH) with a specialization in Cognitive and Immune Support.