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Snack your way to Sun Protection

Posted on: August 28th, 2017 by Dr. Jennifer Herrmann

Sure, you slather sunscreen from head-to-toe at the beach and are known for your monstrous sun hat. But, external protection from damaging UV rays might not be enough under our intense so-Cal rays. It turns out that certain foods can also boost sun protection from the inside-out. Here are our favorites.

Tomatoes

These fresh summer faves earn a spot on the sun protective list for their high levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant giving tomatoes their orange-red hue that helps neutralize the harmful effects of UV rays. In a recent study of tomato-eaters versus non-eaters, those who consumed the fruit had 33% more protection against sunburn, had increased skin levels of procollagen–a molecule that gives skin its youthful structure–and had less mitochondrial DNA damage, which is believed to be linked to skin aging.

Pomegranates

Pomegranate seeds are rich in anthocuanidins, ellagic acid, and punicalagin, which are powerful antioxidants that fight and repair free-radical damage from the sun. Seeds are also rich in anti-inflammatories that help combat sunburn redness (if you should unfortunately get one).

Walnuts

Rich in heart-healthy Omega-3’s, walnuts defend against skin cancers with their impressive levels of sun tolerance-boosting Vitamin D. Omega-3s also keep the skin barrier well-oiled, so it can more effectively hold in moisture that summer heat tries to steal.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale also contain hefty doses of free-radical fighters. And, the darker the leaf, the better! Spinach is loaded with lutein, vitamins B, C, and E, iron, and omega-3s.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is high in antioxidant flavonoids such as epicatechins, catechins, procyandins that act to repair sun-damaged skin. Even better, they keep your heart and brain young too!

While there is no excuse to skip SPF, supplementing with sun-protective super-stars gives you additive advantage. Hit the sand with this tasty Super-Salad.

Tomato Walnut Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients

  • Heirloom tomatoes, 1 cup, diced
  • Cucumber 6-inch, de-seeded & diced
  • Red onion 1 small, finely chopped
  • Pomegranate seeds from 1 fruit
  • Walnuts ⅓ cup finely chopped
  • Mint leaves ⅓ cup, torn
  • Flat-leaf parsley ⅓ cup roughly chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 2-3 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Spinach leaves, 2-4 cups

Preparation

Gently toss all ingredients 1-9 and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix in 2-4 cups fresh spinach leaves to taste. Serves 4.


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