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Sun protection inside out


Did you know that by eating curry (with turmeric) you could reduce your risk of skin cancer and improve your skin health significantly? The same goes for a number of other wonderful foods.

We mostly focus on protecting the skin from the outside – with sunblock, creams and ointments. However, the skin is a living part of our bodies and full of the good and the bad stuff we feed it! The more good stuff we give the skin, the more it will be able to handle sun exposure without much damage. The sun can harm the skin in mainly 3 ways:

  1. Loss of collagen resulting in early aging – reduced collagen levels is what gives skin structure and stops the skin from sagging.
  2. Oxidative damage – in way you can see it as skin-rust
  3. Genetic damage as a direct result of UV radiation.

A group of volunteers helped to prove the value of protective foods, such as tomatoes, by eating foods high in lycopene – the red stuff in tomatoes – for 12 weeks. After the 12 weeks their skins were much more resistant to UV exposure than before. They had less sunburn for the same sun exposure and less skin damage altogether.

The biggest internal sun protectors are high antioxidant foods. Carotenoids, flavonoids and foods high in vitamin C, E, zinc and selenium have been shown to offer significant sun protection. In case all of this is Greek to you, carotenoids are the orange, yellow and red food colours – the real ones, not the “food colouring” in bottles. You find these in many foods, including carrots, tomatoes, egg yolks, and even in leafy greens where the chlorophyll masks the orange/yellow tones. Very good news is that high quality cocoa also contains excellent sun-protecting flavonoids.

Boost your sun protection by making sure you eat colourful foods from nature and enjoy a tasty curry full of turmeric on a regular basis. Treat yourself to some dark chocolate, very high in excellent quality cocoa and super-low in sugar. If you need an extra sun-protection boost, take some excellent vitamin C, zinc and selenium supplements.

The irony is that we need the sun and at the same time must be very careful of the sun! We need the sun for vitamin D production and for overall health. Too little sun exposure can increase our cancer risk and too much sun exposure increases our skin cancer risk too!

Enjoy sunshine in moderation, use a very high quality sunblock if you need to, and boost your resistance to sun damage from the inside out!

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