I’m off this weekend, enjoying some free time with my fella before starting a new job in a week. In the meantime, I thought we could all use a little boost of SPF as we spend the next few days out in the summer sun at all of those 4th of July parties. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
Wishing You Total Well-Being,
There’s something about Summer that brings people outdoors. Whether it’s block parties, barbecues, or taking the kids on a family vacation, we sure do like to gather under the sun. While Vitamin D is an important building block to health, too much exposure to the sun has consequences that can harm us. We’ve all been told time and time again to wear our sunscreen when prolonged exposure is unavoidable, but there are some additional ways to ward off UVA and UVB rays, and guess what? You get to eat them!
Vegetables – Your mother was right. You need to eat your broccoli! That’s because it contains sulphoraphane, a powerful antioxidant with anti-cancerous effects that helps the cells in your body protect themselves against UV damage. Leafy greens are a good idea, too. They have been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer by as much as 50%. In the mood for some fresh garden salsa? Bell peppers and tomatoes are both great sources of lycopene, which has been shown to have an SPF of anywhere from 1-3. Sweet potatoes and carrots offer beta carotene and Vitamin C, which help protect the skin against free radical damage with their high antioxidant content. Slice both into long matchsticks, drizzle with olive oil and herbs and bake for a healthy substitute for fries with your grilled goodies.
Fruits – Watermelon is a warm weather staple, and it’s not just a delicious way to stay hydrated! Its lycopene content is almost 40% higher than that of tomatoes. Other fruits with high levels of lycopene include papaya, guava and grapefruit. Pomegranates are an excellent source of polyphenols like catechins, which strengthen the top layers of skin and allow them to resist UV rays. Vitamin C is found in all varieties of citrus fruit , but can be found in berries and kiwi to fend off nasty free radicals, as well. Blend these beauties into a smoothie or use them to make a fabulous and functional fruit salad.
Beverages – If you’re going to be out in the sun, it’s just smart to drink water to avoid dehydration, but water also helps keep skin’s Natural Moisture Factor (NMF) high. This isn’t just a fancy name, either. It helps skin protect itself from environmental factors that cause damage, like the sun. While you may not be in a hurry to put the kettle on as temperatures creep into the triple digits, taking your green or black teas iced will provide plenty of polyphenols to help skin fend off the sun’s rays. If the idea of drinking plain tea or water doesn’t excite you, slice any of the fruits above and add them to your glass for color and flavor. Infusing your teas and waters is a tasty trend that’s sun smart, too.
Sunscreen is still the gold standard in sun protection and you definitely shouldn’t leave home without it, but isn’t it nice to know that salsa and smoothies can save your hide, too? Be the perfect party guest by offering to make a delicious, double-duty side dish. Now that you’ve done your dietary due-diligence, rest easy and enjoy those lazy days of Summer!