The dangers of Sun kissing are known and also the imporatnce of applying Sunscreen. The UV (Ultra Violet)radiations emitted by Sun suppresses the immune functions of the skin, cause premature aging, discoloration and the deadly skin cancers.UV rays are also responsible for producing the free radicals which lead to oxidative destruction of the skin, interferes with healthy production of collagen and damage the cells DNA.
Does that mean we should avoid Sun completely? No more Summer fun, going to beaches, picnic in the parks, no more oudoor activities? Well! Not Justified.Lets be realistic. UV light is essential for us. It elevates our mood, gives us energy, and most importantly guard us against SAD( seasonal affective disorder) which happens if we abandon Sunlight.
We can protect ourselves from UV rays by applying SPF(sun protection factor) , protective clothing, and avoiding being in Sun between 11AM to 2PM when the sunlight is at its peak. But its not enough. Of course they are essential. But slathering SPF 30+ and protective clothing does not give us the freedom to hit the Sun Risk Free. The problem with suncreen is they wear off and needs to be reapplied every two hours as a general rule of thumb. Most of us apply it in the morning and feel its enough for the whole day.
The solution lies in supplementing the SPF with foods that provide extra UV protection from within. The foods which are rich in Antioxidant with high resistance powers to fight the free radical damage caused by UV radiations and protect the skin from inside out.Antioxidant Rich foods impede collagen destruction, reverse sun damage, encourage collagen production ,erase facial wrinkles. In short antioxidants are crucial for skin health and a guard against UV rays just like an SPF.
SUN FRIENDLY FOODS : EXTRA BOOST OF PROTECTION FROM SUN
1. Red, Yellow or Orange colored Fruits and Veggies are packed with carotenoid an antioxidant which reduces the intensity of burns caused by prolonged sun exposure. The magical componet in these fruits and vegetables is Lycopene( a carotenoid) which is a highly effective antioxidant.Lycopene also helps in maintaining the healthy levels of collagen by inhibiting the activity of enzymes responsible for breakdown of collagen and protect the skin from being sunburned.
Red ripe tomatoes, red and orange bell peppers, carrots, watermelon( cool your skin with dash of lemon, mint and watermelon), pomegranate , pappaya ,apricots to name a few contains rich antioxidants with powers to fight the free radical damage caused by UV radiations.
Note: The lycopene content in a tomatoes depend on its ripeness ( the redder the better). Also the lypocene in tomatoe is easily absorbed when they are cooked and mixed with a healthy natural fat like olive oil.
2. Fresh Herbs like Parsley, Basil, Sage and Rosemary are rich in antioxidants and help in fighting the free radical damage. So pop them in your dishes before hitting the sun. They will enhance the flavors and also provide protection from the sun
3. Dark leafy greens like Spinach and kale has abundace of antioxidants polyphenols and carotenoids which guard the skin against UV damage. Enjoy a bowl of fresh veggie salad with loads of spinach and a salad dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper and light vinaigrette, an all time favourite of salad lovers before stepping the house this summer.
4. Dark Chocolate. This time eat it Guilt free. It is rich in flavnoids an amazing antioxidant with free radical fighting potential. Make sure to get the high grade dark chocolate with higher percentage of cocoa atleast 70% and less added sugar. Obviously it is high in calories so stick with no more than 100 calories of sweet stuff a day.
5.Green Tea. It is a Super Drink with numerous health benefits and a skin saviour too. The secret ingredient in Green Tea is catechin an antioxidant with loads of skin saving properties. It protects the skin from inflammation caused by sun burns and has the potential to reverse the sun damage . Green tea when applied topically do wonders for the skin.Applying cold commpresses soaked in green tea calms down the inflammation caused by sunburn, also if its applied 30 minutes before sun exposure it reduces the chances of sunburn. So why not try a green tea mask before hitting the beach. Its cheap , easy and effective.
6. Omega 3s. Adding Omega 3s ( Essential Fats) in your diet not only reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels but it also boosts skin's immunity to UV radiation and act as a shield against skin cancer.It acts as an anti inflammatory agent which reduces the redness and burning associated with sunburns. Pack small snack pouches of Walnuts, Almonds and Flaxseeds for your next picnic or road trip. A healthy and sun friendly snack.
7.Eggs also have high concentration of antioxidants like Vit B and Vit E which combat the free radical damage caused by sun exposure.Organic eggs are always a better choice.
8. Fish. Adding Omega 3 rich fish in diet strengthen the skin's immune system and fight the sun damage. So this summer go and fetch some fishes.
Have a Happy, Sunny, Beachy Summer. Enjoy!!!
About the author: When I was in India, I was a Financial Service Consultant with the MBA degree, screwed up in a 9-5 full time monotonus job. I got married and moved to USA in 2009. Most of us dream of that.But truly speaking the day I landed at LAX Airport I was not excited. I was only missing my family,relatives, friends. The flow of emotions were so intense that initially I used to feel, when will I go back..back to my country my people. I used to nag..nag a lot. Days passed and I realised thatthere is no way out and I have to stay here at least till my husband’s project will continue.That wasthe peak time for me to decide whether to waste this time in nagging or should I make itworthwhile. When you are alone you get so much time to dip your hands in stuff you neverthought of, to understand that your life has a purpose. I got fascinated towards DIYs, healthyliving, crafting, writting and beauty which inspired me to pursue the esthetics course in and Ibecame a licensed Esthetician. I never thought of doing all this when I used to sit in a small bank cubicle. Few of my articles got published in the Indian magazine Woman's Era which boosted myconfindence and I stared blogging. Now every morning I wake up with a purpose,to learn, toshare. I want to learn and grow with each passing day and thats the aim of my life. Simple. Right!
About the column: Through this column I would like to share whatever I learn in the process of making my life better ( DIY beauty products, healthy tips, crafting, and much more). So stay tuned!