With the summer sun set to reach its peak strength in the upcoming weeks, you will soon find yourself slathering on sunscreens and donning hats, visors and all manner of UV-protective clothing.
While all these measures are sure to help protect your delicate skin, you can also nourish it from the inside out. Many of the healthiest foods you can eat come complete with their own compounds containing sun-protection for your most delicate skin. Here are four that you should look to add to your diet this summer.
Yes it’s true, beans may be good for your heart and may be responsible for a fair amount of embarrassing flatulence as the famous childhood rhyme suggests, but they may be good for your face as well.
Kidney beans are an excellent source of zinc, a key nutrient in skin health. Human skin is in a constant state of renewal and regeneration. Studies show that many of these rejuvinating processes are dependent on zinc-based enzymes and proteins. In fact, skin blemishes are often a symptom of zinc deficiency. Other foods high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, oysters, ginger and Brazil nuts.
Snack on sunflower seeds or add them as a topping to anything from summer salads to ice cream cones to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, which plays a vital role in fending against free radicals that damage delicate skin.
One ounce supplies a whopping two-thirds of the daily requirement of this powerful antioxidant, which also promotes collagen and elastin production, the fibers that give skin its structure.
Another nutrient you’ll find plenty of in these mini morsels is copper. Copper is responsible for helping produce melanin, a pigment protein that helps absorb harmful UV radiation and also provides rich color to hair and skin.
A recent study found improvements in the quality and condition of both the hair and skin of healthy dogs who were given a sunflower seed supplement daily for one month. Other foods high in copper include kale, mushrooms, prunes, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.
You may have to search beyond the apple, orange and pear stands at the grocery store to locate this unique skin-preserving fruit. Pomegranates are one of the most highly concentrated sources of antioxidants you can find. Polyphenols spring into action to help repair damaged skin left unprotected in the sun too long, and research has shown that the high anthocyanin and tannin concentration of pomegranates provide anti-tumor affects as well as protecting the skin from the sun’s UVB rays, which can be particularly damaging to skin.
Along with being an abundant source of antioxidants, pomegranates are an excellent source of other skin-saving nutrients including potassium, copper, zinc, iron and vitamins C and K, and promote the production of collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts. Other antioxidant-rich foods to incorporate into your skin-care diet include plums, oranges and all varieties of berries.
Yes, you read that right! But don’t dive into a chocolate bar just yet. Dark chocolate, specifically that which is comprised of 70 percent or more cocoa, is rich in compounds called flavanols. These potent antioxidants not only provide protection from damaging solar rays, but help repair skin from the inside out.
A German study published in the Journal of Nutrition documented the effect of flavanol rich cocoa on women’s skin. One group of women drank a flavanol-rich beverage daily while another group was given a low flavanol drink. All participants were then exposed to UV rays. After 12 weeks, the group who drank the flavanol-rich drink exhibited less skin damage after sun exposure as well as increased blood flow, skin density and hydration.
Furthermore, the appearance of skin roughness and scaling was also significantly reduced among the women who consumed the flavanol-rich drink. Be sure to check what you eat carefully; milk chocolate and white chocolate have little to no flavanol content, and are typically loaded with sugar.
Other flavanol-rich foods include onion, asparagus, lima beans and spinach.
-The Alternative Daily