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Can what you eat prevent sunburn?

WholefoodWe are all familiar with using sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun but did you ever consider that the foods you eat might help prevent sunburn too? Sun exposure is healthy for your body, but too much can cause cellular damage. Knowing what foods to eat can help heal your skin from the inside out.

Why is the sun not always good for you?

The sun is naturally good for your body and can even help improve arthritis, heart conditions, muscle aches, depression and insomnia. However, long term exposure to the suns UVA and UVB rays can actually cause first to third degree burns that create cellular damage deep within the layers of your skin. This can lead to the loss of collagen as well as skin cancer. Safe sun exposure can range from 15–60 minutes without damage, but varies depending upon skin colour, season, time of day and length of exposure.

What types of food can help prevent sunburn?

There are many types of foods that can help protect your skin but those high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids provide the most benefit.
  • Almonds These tasty nuts are packed with vitamin E and other essential vitamins and minerals that help repair and nourish skin
  • Berries Bright coloured berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries have anthocyanin antioxidants and many other phytochemicals that help reduce inflammation and support the health of both body and skin
  • Wild Caught Salmon, Sardines, Mackeral These cold water fishes have an abundance of fatty acids such as Omega 3, that help reduce the inflammation of sunburns. Salmon also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant that actually protects the skin from sunburn. N.B. Farmed Salmon does not have the same benefits
  • Raw Organic Cocoa Rich in proanthocyanidins including those that increase blood flow to speed healing and preserve collagen that helps skin stay supple
  • Green tea This type of unfermented black tea not only has great antioxidants but also supplies the body with catechins that help protect and repair cellular damage from sunburn
  • Tomatoes Adding these to your sunburn free diet will provide your body with the antioxidant lycopene that helps repair and prevent damage from UVA/UVB rays
  • Ginger and Turmeric These spices are known to help repair your skin’s elastin and collagen, both important in keeping skin looking young and healthy. They also stimulate your body to produce thioredoxin, a protein that protects your cells from cellular damage caused by over exposure to the sun
Even though these foods can help heal your skin always practice ‘safe’ sun exposure and 'ask a naturopath' for more ways to stay healthy this summer.

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