Skin cancer and premature aging are in large part preventable with the right diet and avoiding the sun. For example, strawberries are known to contain vitamins A, C and B. What many people don’t realize is that strawberries also contain anthocyanins, the red pigment in strawberries. Anthocyanins, are photo protective against ultraviolet rays, have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor properties and are capable of modulating enzymatic properties. Anthocyanins were previously linked with decreasing diabetes risk.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of foods that have a protective effect on your skin. The following foods have been shown to protect from sunburn and skin cancer.
- Dark chocolate: from genuine cocoa, not milk chocolate, protects against sunburn and is a powerful antioxidant
- Green tea: contains polyphenol, an anti-oxidant that protect from the inside out. Drinking 2 or more cups of black tea or green tea reduces the risk of squamous cell cancer by 30% percent according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Green leafy vegetables: are protective of lung and colon cancer and skin too. According to the International Journal of Cancer, spinach kale and chard may reduce the risk of squamous cell cancer by fifty percent.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: abundant in salmon, mackerel, trout, herring and sardines, have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce the risk of melanoma
- Colorful fruits: for example watermelon, are high in carotenoids and lycopene. Carotenoids offer skin and eye protection from the sun. A study in 2001 followed volunteers who ate 40 grams of tomato paste and two teaspoons of olive oil for 10 weeks. The group was 40% less likely to experience sunburn when exposed to UV rays.
- Oysters: Oysters have tons of nutritional benefits, among them that they are a great source of vitamins and minerals. They are high in zinc, protein, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C. All these play their role in aiding in skin health and luminosity. Omega 3s in particular plump up the skin’s fat cells, fighting wrinkles and making the skin look younger. The zinc in oysters on the other hand helps keep skin healthy, clear, and calm with its strong antimicrobial and immunity boosting properties.