If the ultraviolet rays of the sun bring us the vitamin D we need, boost morale and make our complexion feel better, they also lead to the multiplication of free radicals in our skin cells, with the key, an ageing premature skin. But as nature is well done, it is possible to find, in foods, substances acting as a real shield against the damage of free radicals. Zoom on these “sun-foods” (which however do not dispense with the use of sunscreen!).
Good news for chocolate and sun lovers!
Cocoa tends to decrease, in the long term, skin inflammation caused by the sun by 15% after 6 weeks and by 25% after 12 weeks, according to several clinical studies on the deterioration of the skin.
To make the most of its benefits, it is necessary to consume raw cocoa or in the form of dark chocolate, with a 60% cocoa minimum.
Green and white teas have anti-ageing properties, boosting the immune functions of skin cells and protecting them from sun damage.
An improvement in the structural protein content of the skin has been observed in elastin and collagen, after 8 weeks of consumption of a 300 mg green tea extract twice a day. Antioxidants in tea inhibit part of the enzymes that destroy the collagen of the skin, responsible for wrinkles.
3. The tomato
The tomato is a very good food to cope with the return of the sun because it contains lycopene and vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps fight the formation of free radicals (involved in skin ageing) and helps the skin to be stronger against the sun.
Lycopene is one of the most abundant carotenoids in the human body. It is an antioxidant particularly effective against free radicals. And good news, the addition of fat allows our body to better assimilate lycopene!
4. Vegetable oils
Speaking of fat, many vegetable oils are full of vitamin E, a vitamin that reduces the oxidative stress of cells, linked to exposure to UV rays, and provides protection to the epidermis.
Clinical studies suggest that vitamin E acts as a photoprotector, with the help of other antioxidants.
The best sources of vitamin E are found in polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as wheat germ oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
But oils rich in omega 3 and 6 are also important for protecting our skin from sun damage, as these fatty acids contribute to skin’s suppleness and hydration. There may be mentioned olive oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil, walnut oil or rapeseed oil.
They can also be applied on the skin!
5. The carrot
Carrots are among the richest vegetables in beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant in the carotenoid family that helps prepare the skin for sun exposure while increasing its color.
Beta-carotene is also found in other orange fruits and vegetables such as melons, apricots or mangoes.
Spinach also contains beta-carotene, as well as lutein and vitamin C, antioxidants known to protect the skin from UV damage, preventing DNA damage and reducing their inflammatory effects..
We prefer them raw, but they retain good properties when cooked.
The benefits of seafood for the skin lie in their selenium content.
This trace element antioxidant helps the skin to protect itself against sunburn, slows skin ageing and makes it easier to tan, by intervening in the metabolism of free radicals.
The only problem is that it must be consumed in large quantities to be effective!
8. The eggs
Eggs are rich in vitamin E and vitamin A, which protects the skin and keeps it healthy.
The egg also contains lutein, less than green vegetables, but animal lutein is better absorbed than vegetable lutein.
It is also an excellent source of selenium, which prevents the formation of free radicals.
We do not necessarily think of spirulina as a “sun” food, it is consumed here, especially to give a boost, in the winter, to strengthen the hair and nails or to compensate for a lack of protein intake.
But in fact, spirulina is an exceptional source of beta-carotene and lutein, as well as other antioxidants such as cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.
It also contains unsaturated fatty acids from the omega-6, zinc, vitamin E and selenium families.
10. The achiote
Achiote is THE sun plant, which will activate and prolong your tan (by stimulating the production of melanin) and protect your skin from damage caused by ultraviolet rays.
Achiote powder is antioxidant and contains zinc and selenium.
It is most often found in the form of food supplements, but it is also found in powder, which you can use as a condiment.