Everyone knows that you should wear sunscreen before hitting the beach, but some experts believe that there are other ways you can protect yourself from sun damage – including eating certain foods.
Some foods are said to contain nutrients that help the skin to repair and replenish itself.
The number of antioxidants in your blood decreases when your skin is exposed to sunlight, so it is important to ensure there is a consistent presence of these nutrients in your diet.
Amanda Von Dem Hagen, skin specialist at Glo Skin Beauty UK, explains: “Whilst a salad is no substitute for sunblock, some foods in particular could add inner protection against sunburn and wrinkles at the cellular level.
“There are so many components that you can consume from food that carry different protective effects. Most of the mechanisms relate to antioxidants, anti-ageing compounds in foods that fight skin damage in different ways.
“Carotenoids are antioxidants that give pigment to orange and red fruit and vegetables and go by the names lycopene, lutein and beta carotene.
“Carotenoids alongside resveratrol in red grapes and ellagic acids in berries offer natural sun protection to the skin.
“Plant based foods such as carrots, tomatoes and spinach act like miracle protectors that take care of the skin once they are inside the body.
“They fight free radicals that can lead to ageing, skin damage from the sun and prevent inflammation and arterial disease as side benefits.
Here are Amanda’s top 7 foods which she says can help repair sun damage.
Crimini mushrooms have one of the highest selenium contents.
This trace mineral is needed to make one of the body’s most potent antioxidants, glutathione peroxidase, which fights damaging compounds called free radicals that form in the skin during sunlight exposure.
They are also a great source of B vitamins, which are needed to create new, youthful-looking skin cells.
Pomegranates have a high antioxidant content and have been found to offer anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.
Scientists have discovered that nutrients in pomegranates can reduce the ability of UVB radiation to cause cancer-promotion damage in skin cells.
Pomegranate seed oil works to protect against skin cancer because of ellagic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant found in large quantities in pomegranates which researches have found inhibits the growth of skin tumours.
Tart Montmorency cherries are your best source of the antioxidant melatonin.
Melatonin protects the skin against ultraviolet radiation. Researchers have discovered that the nutrient helps to repair sunburned skin since it stimulates new skin-cell growth. Cherries are also a great source of vitamin C which is needed to build collagen.
Cherries never tend to come cheap but they are in season during late spring and summer, so they’re lower in price and tastier to eat during this time of year.
Tomatoes are packed full of an antioxidant called lycopene which protect the skin from damaging UV rays.
Lycopene gives the tomatoes their colour and neutralises harmful molecules produced in skin sponsored to the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Damage inflicted by the free radicals on skin structures and DNA can lead to premature ageing and skin cancer.
They are also an anti-inflammatory which means soothing any redness from being in the sun all too long.
Carrots are full of beta-carotene which not only protects against sun damage but also can help to reverse it as it has natural sunscreen properties.
They also contain biotin, a type of B vitamin which promotes healthy hair and rapid nail growth.
With high amounts of Vitamin-E, almonds reverse sun damage and keeps skin hydrated and smooth.
This can make any smoothie tastes like a dessert and is great paired with bananas.
These are loaded with beta-carotene like carrots. The antioxidant is converted to vitamin-A in the body which keeps skin smooth and healthy whilst promoting collagen production.
By eating sweet potatoes you are giving yourself a good lather of natural sunscreen in conjunction with physical sunscreen too.