Top 9 Foods for Sun Protection and Healthy Skin

Top 9 Foods for Sun Protection and Healthy Skin

Sizzle and Shine: Yummy Foods for Radiant Skin!

We all know how important it is to wear sunscreen and apply moisturizer to keep our skin protected, hydrated, and healthy. However, what you put in your body may be just as important as what you put on your skin. 

There are certain foods that are unique in their ability to boost skin health and protect it from sun damage. Let’s take a look at the top foods and how they support your skin.

Salmon - Foods for Skin Health and Protection

1. Salmon (And Other Fatty Fish)

When it comes to foods that benefit skin health and help protect the skin from the sun, salmon is in a league of its own. It’s a powerhouse of skin-supporting nutrients.  

One of the key components of fatty fish like salmon is omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are important for overall health and play a vital role in skin health. Omega-3s help to maintain the skin's moisture barrier, keeping the skin hydrated. This helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and prevents dryness and irritation.1

Omega-3 fats can also help prevent sunburn by reducing the inflammation that causes redness. Research even suggests that omega-3s can prevent the development and growth of certain skin cancers.2  

Salmon also contains an amazing compound called astaxanthin. This powerful antioxidant is what gives salmon and other fish their pinkish-red color. Studies have shown that astaxanthin can protect the skin from UV damage, reducing the risk of sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Astaxanthin also helps improve skin texture, hydration, and appearance, and helps diminish wrinkles.3,4,5  

 Fatty fish like salmon is also a great source of vitamin D. The “vitamin” label is a misnomer–vitamin D is actually a powerful hormone that plays an important role in skin health. Some estimates say more than 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.6  

 Vitamin D is needed to produce new skin cells, help repair damaged DNA, and regulate the immune system to reduce inflammation caused by UV rays. Vitamin D also helps boost the skin’s natural defenses against sun exposure.7,8

Blueberries - Foods for Skin Health and Protection

2. Blueberries

Incorporating blueberries into your diet can be a delicious way to improve the health and appearance of your skin.

 Blueberries contain compounds called anthocyanins which are pigments that give the berries their rich blue and purple colors. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants that act as a natural sunscreen to protect the skin from free radicals caused by sun exposure. Free radicals damage the elastin and collagen proteins in your skin, which contributes to signs of skin aging including sagging, brown spots, and wrinkles.9,10

 Anthocyanins also improve blood flow to the skin, which helps in creating a brighter, healthier complexion.11

 Blueberries are also a great source of vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production, keeping the skin firm and preventing wrinkles from forming. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that can shield the skin from free radicals caused by UV radiation.12  

3. Bone broth

As the name implies, bone broth is a type of nutrient-dense soup made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue. This savory liquid is packed with minerals and other nutrients that are incredibly beneficial for your skin.

 Bone broth is rich in collagen proteins–the same type of collagen found abundantly in your skin. Collagen is essential for maintaining skin elasticity, firmness, and hydration. As we age, our body's natural production of collagen decreases, leading to sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. UV radiation from the sun also damages collagen proteins.13 

 Collagen from bone broth can help replace damaged proteins and increase your body’s natural collagen production, keeping your skin looking younger and healthier.14,15

 In addition to collagen, bone broth contains lots of minerals that are essential for skin health. For example, zinc found in bone broth helps reduce inflammation and protects skin cells from sun damage. Bone broth also contains copper, which supports the production of collagen and elastin necessary for maintaining skin elasticity. Other minerals found in bone broth, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, also play important roles in maintaining healthy skin.16,17

Avocados - Foods for Skin Health and Protection

4. Avocados

Avocados are packed full of nutrients that can benefit skin health in numerous ways. They’re an excellent source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. Vitamin E helps to prevent sunburns by reducing inflammation.17

Avocados are also rich in healthy fats that help moisturize and nourish the skin from the inside. The fats found in avocados help to improve the absorption of vitamin A, which helps to promote the growth of new skin cells. In one study, women who ate one avocado a day for two months had improved elasticity, hydration, appearance, and overall health in their skin.18,19

5. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, an essential mineral that supports the maintenance of healthy skin. Selenium helps protect the skin from UV radiation by boosting the skin’s natural antioxidant defenses.17

 Research has shown that a deficiency in selenium can lead to various skin problems, including dryness, psoriasis, and even skin cancer. However, eating just one or two Brazil nuts a day can provide the recommended daily intake of selenium, which can help prevent these skin issues and promote healthy skin.17,20

Brazil nuts are also a good source of other nutrients that support skin health, such as vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.21 

Dark Chocolate - Foods for Skin Health and Protection

6. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is very beneficial for the skin due to its high content of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that protect cells from sun damage that can cause premature skin aging. 

Studies have found that eating dark chocolate protects against sunburn, skin damage, and redness. Unfortunately, milk chocolate doesn’t have the same effects.22  

The polyphenols in dark chocolate also boost blood flow to the skin to help deliver important nutrients. This increased blood flow can provide a natural, healthy glow to the skin and help with cellular repair.23 

7. Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient-rich food that provides a wide range of benefits for overall health and wellness, including skin health and protection against sun damage. One of the key nutrients in eggs that is important for skin health is vitamin A.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for maintaining healthy skin. It helps the body produce and maintain collagen and elastin, both of which decrease as we age and from sun damage.24   

 Acting as an antioxidant, vitamin A protects the skin from the oxidative stress caused by UV radiation, reducing the risk of skin cancer. Vitamin A is also important for reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots by promoting the growth of new, healthy skin cells.24 

 Eggs are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidant pigments are what give the yolks their rich orange and yellow hues. The lutein and zeaxanthin from your diet are able to travel to your skin, where they shield it from UV radiation from the sun.25 

 Eggs also contain other skin-boosting nutrients, including biotin and selenium. They’re also packed with highly-absorbable protein needed for generating new, healthy skin tissue.  

8. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and healthy way to protect your skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure. They’re one of the best sources of beta-carotene, a type of carotenoid. Carotenoids are a group of plant pigments that have been shown to have incredible antioxidant properties that offer skin protection.26, 27 

 In addition to its role in protecting the skin from oxidative stress, beta-carotene is also converted by the body into vitamin A, a crucial nutrient for maintaining healthy skin.

 Sweet potatoes are also a good source of other skin-boosting nutrients, including vitamin C, which helps to produce collagen and elastin, and vitamin E, which reduces inflammation.26

 If you can, look for the purple variety of sweet potatoes. Their purple color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are incredibly healthy for skin and protect against UV damage.  

Tea - Foods for Skin Health and Protection

9. Green Tea

Green tea has been used for centuries for its medicinal and health benefits. It’s known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Research also shows that green tea can promote healthy skin.

Green tea contains a variety of compounds that can help support skin health. These include catechins and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from oxidative stress from UV rays.28

One type of compound found in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG ), reduces inflammation in the skin caused by UV rays, helping to prevent premature aging and skin cancer.28   

Let’s Recap

To safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of sun damage and promote its overall well-being, prioritize including these foods in your diet. By embracing a diverse range of nutrients and antioxidants found in these foods, you can enhance collagen and elastin production, diminish inflammation and oxidative stress, and maintain a youthful, vibrant appearance for your skin.



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