Foods and Nutrients that boost your skin’s antioxidant protection against UV radiation
With the overwhelming increase in awareness about the use of chemicals in our personal care products and their negative effects, this has put more emphasis on researching natural alternatives.
Thankfully there are now companies producing effective natural sunscreens which is just one way to keep our skin healthy and help to prevent sun related aging. But let’s look and some foods and nutrients that also help boost our skin’s antioxidant levels to protect against UV radiation;
- Cocoa (dark chocolate): contains 4 times as much phenols and catechins as tea. These antioxidants protect our skin from sunburn and skin cancer. Milk should not be added to the chocolate as it interferes with the absorption of its antioxidants. Recommended dose: 2 ounces of dark chocolate daily.
- Green and black teas: rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are one of the most powerful botanical antioxidants known today. They offer unrivalled action against free radical exposure which is responsible for 80% of skin aging and can boost your skin`s antioxidant protection from the inside out. According to a study, drinking two or more cups of either black or green tea reduces the risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer by 30%.
- Micro-algae: like chlorella and spirulina, contain a carotenoid called Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is, perhaps, the most powerful ever studied. It is 550 times more powerful than Vitamin E, and it has been shown to protect the skin and eyes against Ultraviolet radiation.
- Carotenoids: are antioxidants which reduce the negative effects of UVB radiation. Green leafy vegetables are rich in oxygenated carotenoid compounds known as xanthophylls. Carotenes are unoxygenated carotenoid compounds which provide pigment to fruits and vegetables. This pigment is used by plants as sunscreen and can activate melanin. Foods containing high concentrations of carotenes are: apricots, papaya, mango, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets.
- Lycopene: is a red carotenoid which protects the skin against sunburn and skin cancer. It is at least twice as effective an antioxidant as beta carotene to block UV light (has an SPF of about 3). Foods high in lycopene include watermelon, tomatoes, papaya, pink guava, red bell peppers and pink grapefruit. Watermelon is especially rich in lycopene, it contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes.
- Pomegranates: contain powerful polyphenol compounds such as catechins and anthocyanins which strengthen the skin`s upper layers, thus increasing its resistance to harmful UV rays.
- Tocotrienols: are a group of compunds which belong to the Vitamin E family. They are 30-60 more powerful than tocopherols thus, they neutralize free radical activity at a faster rate. Tocotrienols are capable of reducing/absorbing penetration of UV radiation. Barley, rye, oats, annatto oil, rice bran oil and palm oil are natural, rich sources of tocotrienols.
- Vitamin C: prevents premature aging and skin cancer by warding off free radicals. The best natural sources of Vitamin C are acerola cherry, rose hip, berries, guava, kiwi, papaya and all citrus fruits.
- Vitamin D: it protects against many types of cancer, including skin cancer. Supplementation is in order for people who live in areas with long winters and/or people who do not take sunbaths.
- Broccoli: has anti-cancerours effects and is rich in an antioxidant called sulphoraphane. A research showed that sulphoraphane helps body cells to protect themselves against the ravages of UV radiation .
- Green leafy vegetables: according to a study spinach, kale and swiss chard may reduce risk of squamous cell skin cancer by 50 percent
- Omega 3 fatty acids: can reduce inflammation, protect your skin from sunburn and melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer). Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, algae/seaweed, green leafy vegetables, flax, hemp and chia seeds are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Orange peels: 1 tsp. per week reduces the risk of squamous cell skin cancer
- Histidine-rich foods: stimulate healthy production of urocanic acid (a natural photoprotectant).Although adult humans produce this amino acid, it is believed that natural supplies run short easily. Histidine can be found in: meat, dairy products and grains such as rice, wheat and rye.
- Water: keeping your skin hydrated encourages a healthy NMF (natural moisture factor) which in turn, protects your skin from environmental factors. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids after sun exposure to prevent dehydration.
Here are some of our favorite SPF’s that have formulated without the use of harmful chemicals to both humans and our planet
- Lavera Sunscreens: their broad spectrum sunscreens block UVA, UVB and even UVC radiation. Their formulations are available in lotions, sprays and lip balms. Lavera sunscreens are paraben-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free and contain both physical and biological UV filters. Certified natural by BDHI.
- 100% Pure Organic Pomegranate Antioxidant SPF 20: 100% natural and vegetarian broad spectrum sunscreen. Formulated with certified organic ingredients. 100% sunscreen contains physical and biological UV filters which also protect the skin against free radicals present in the environment. Free of chemicals, fragrances and synthetic preservatives.
- Sante Sun Lotion SPF 30: broad spectrum sunscreen formulated with physical and biological UV filters. It is effective immediately after application, whereas most sunscreens take 15-30 min to bond with your skin. Water resistant, dermatologist tested. Free of synthetic colorants, fragances, synthetic sunscreen agents, preservatives and emulsifiers. Certified natural by BDIH.
Certified Organic products that protect against UV radiation:
- Sophyto Polyphenol Skin Drops: formulated with polyphenol extracts derived from organic green and white tea, organic apples, organic grapes and organic olive leaf. Combine with your sunscreen to boost antioxidant protection within the epidermis.
- Sophyto Mega Omegas Day Face Moisturiser: rich in vegetable Omega 3 Fatty Acids which reduce inflammation and keeps it supple. This moisturizer also contains biological filters such as shea butter and raspberry oil. Raspberry oil offers the skin broad spectrum protection from damaging UVA and UVB rays. The SPF of red raspberry seed oil has been found to be equal to that of titanium dioxide.
- Suncat mineral makeup: formulated with uncoated titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Ideal for those who need heavy coverage but do not want to resort to clogging foundations. Free of silicones, parabens, fillers, carmine, bismuth oxychloride, ultramarines, boron nitrides, nanoparticles, micronized minerals. Suit all skin types. Naturally water and sweat resistant minerals that let your skin breathe.
- Coastal Classic Creations tinted loose powders: contain high purity iron oxide (physical UV filters which blocks both UVA and UVB rays). Suitable for all skin types. Coastal Classic loose powders do not contain bismuth oxychloride, mica, boron nitride, dimethicone, nano/micronized particles, talc parabens and carmine. Keep the pores free of all debris. By far, the purest minerals I have ever used.