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How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun Naturally with These Superfoods

As someone who loves to spend time outdoors, sun protection is super important to me. I don’t want to sacrifice my healthy skin in pursuit of becoming a bronzed beach goddess.

Of course, sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. It’s not the only key to sun safety, however. There are actually lots of superfoods you can eat to protect your skin from the sun naturally. Not only are these the perfect foods for healthy skin; they also offer great protection from UV damage!

When you go out for a nature hike, spend some time working on that tan, or just go relax on a beach somewhere, make sure you bring your sun protection with you. Sun safety is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy, youthful, and glowing.

The importance of sun safety

Because your skin is your biggest organ (and the only organ that gets exposed to the sun), you need to take action to protect it from harmful UV rays. And just because you successfully avoided a sunburn doesn’t mean your skin wasn’t damaged by the sun. 

Unfortunately, the sun has the power to damage your skin on the cellular level, leading to skin aging (think wrinkles) and, in more extreme cases, skin cancer. In addition, UV rays can suppress your immune system, making it harder for your body to protect itself against viruses and infections.

Sun safety today is so much easier than it was 100 years ago, when they didn’t even have sunscreen. It’s your responsibility to use the knowledge you have to protect your skin from sun damage and keep the wrinkles at bay.

Foods for healthy, sun-protected skin

Before I share my recommendations for superfoods that can help protect your skin against sun damage, I want to remind you again how important it is to use topical sunscreen whenever you go outside. Having a daily moisturizer with SPF ensures you don’t forget sun safety even when it’s a little bit cloudy.

Along with carefully using sunscreen every day, you can help boost your skin’s natural UV protection by eating foods for healthy skin. Look for foods that are naturally rich in healthy antioxidants to add to your diet. A little extra sun protection is great for all seasons and climates.

Because plants actually produce molecules with antioxidant properties to protect themselves from UV damage, some of my favorite summer and tropical fruits like guavas, blueberries, and oranges are full of antioxidants. Cacao and coffee are also rich in antioxidants because they’re grown near the equator where it’s always sunny. Fruits originating in the Middle East and Central Asia like pomegranates, dates, and olives are skin-healthy as well.

Superfoods with antioxidants aren’t the only way to eat your sun protection. Green tea, a delicious and healthy sugary drink alternative originating in East Asia, contains a molecule called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that helps reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and repair DNA.

Molecules like polyphenols and beta-carotene can help fight free radicals and prevent free radical damage as well. On top of that, one study showed that eating food rich in beta-carotene gives your skin a glow that is even more attractive than a suntan! Look for foods high in beta-carotene such as carrots, canteloupe, dark leafy greens, apricots, broccoli, and peas.

If some of these foods just aren’t sounding very tasty to you, search for a supplement that gives you the same nutrients. Along with a high-quality beta-carotene supplement, you can try a vitamin B3, vitamin E, or astaxanthin supplement as well.

Other tips for sun protection

Aside from bringing sunscreen with you whenever you go outside and adding plenty of sun safety superfoods to your diet, there are some other ways you can protect yourself from sun damage.

Make sure to reapply your sunscreen every 90 minutes. If you’re going to the beach, consider sunscreen that’s safe for coral reefs by looking for one that’s formulated with mineral UV blockers like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

When you’re planning an outdoor adventure, consider when the sun’s rays are strongest. This tends to be the period between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Perhaps you can choose an early morning badminton match or a sunset beach picnic rather than spending lots of time outside in the middle of the day.

Think about what you’re wearing in the sun. The less of your skin that’s directly exposed to the sun, the better. Consider wearing a loose long-sleeved top with flowy pants to stay more covered. And don’t forget to wear high-quality UV protection sunglasses to keep your eyes safe.

Remember, the sun can be harmful even when it’s cloudy. Take these precautions whenever you go outside, regardless of how brightly the sun is shining. You’ll also want to be extra careful whenever you’re at an altitude because you’re even more exposed to the harsh UV rays of the sun.

The next time you plan to spend time outdoors, whether for a picnic by the pool, a siesta in a hammock, or a yoga class at the park, pack your favorite antioxidant-rich snacks along with your sunscreen.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for my latest skincare tips. Keep that skin glowing!

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