My granddaughter, Claire, learning how to take charge of her health destiny!
We all want to have healthy, glowing skin…but many consider the only way to achieve this is to sit in the sun or tanning bed to get a tan. What if you could eat certain foods that could actually enhance the color of your skin and protect it from sunburns and slow down the aging of the skin? Sounds pretty good!
Teaching Claire from the start about the
importance of eating healthy for a lifetime!!
Often, people ask me if I sit in the sun or why my skin has an orange tint to it. I haven’t sat in the sun to get that golden tan since my pageant and modeling days over 30 years ago. I’ve been very careful to protect my skin because I had done so much tanning and burning in my teens and early 20’s; all before we knew about the dangers of sitting in the sun. I now see the damage that I caused to my skin by not knowing that years later, I would see the results of too much sun exposure. I'm making sure that my own daughters and my granddaughter, Claire, are educated on proper sun protection and skin care. Having been a vegan for so long, I’ve always known that eating vegetables would in fact change the color of my skin. I’ve had friends and doctors tell me I should cut back on eating foods that are orange or those that contain carotene, such as carrots, mangoes, and sweet potatoes. At first I thought perhaps they were right, as I never really thought there could be a benefit to this alteration in my skin color. However, being the research fanatic that I am, I decided to investigate this interesting skin color occurrence. Keep reading!
Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of all cancers in the U.S., affecting one out of every five Americans. We’ve all heard that ultraviolet radiation from the sun accelerates the effects of aging, increases your risk for developing skin cancer, and DNA damage. Ultraviolet exposure changes our skin’s structure, causing sagging, wrinkling, brown spots, etc. We know it’s important to protect our skin from high levels of UV rays by wearing safe mineral sunscreen and limiting time to mid-day sun exposure. (future Blog coming soon!) However, by adding phytochemicals from whole natural foods, they can actually provide us with an extra source of protection. We can enhance the body’s natural defense system to help prevent sunburn, other dangerous skin conditions, and slow down the aging of our skin! Pretty awesome what nature can do!! God always supplies us with everything we need!
When we consume foods rich in carotenoids, they build up in the skin, where they combat UV-induced oxidative stress. These amazing carotenoids found in nutrient-rich whole foods have been shown to have photo-protective qualities that prevent or repair DNA damage to the skin caused by the sun. Research has shown that when we eat foods rich in lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, polyphenols, and beta-carotene, our skin’s resistance to UV-induced reddening was enhanced. These powerful antioxidant-rich foods actually reduced the DNA damage from the UV exposure.
Think about this, 80% of the visible aging on our face is due to sun exposure. These same phytochemical-rich foods also offer protection against wrinkles. In one study of older adults who ate more vegetables and legumes and lowered their consumption of dairy and sugar, less visible sun damage occurred. Another study found that with higher levels of Vitamin C intake, fewer wrinkles appeared.
Regardless of the damaging effects of the sun on our skin, many people still prefer to sit in the sun to achieve that “healthy” glow. In the wild, carotenoids are responsible for the bright feather colors of male birds, making them more attractive to their potential mates. A similar occurrence happens in humans. Research has shown that food-derived carotenoid-colored skin is perceived as healthier and more attractive to that over the skin color from a suntan. Another study revealed that after a few weeks of increasing fruit and vegetables by three servings per day, pictures of these individuals taken after adding more nutrient rich foods received higher ratings of health and attractiveness than in the before photos.
A 10-year Australian study found that consuming a high-nutrient, plant-based diet had cancer-fighting benefits. Researchers examined the diet, skin color, and sunlight exposure of 1,360 adults, ages 25 to 75. They focused on two main eating patterns: a meat and fat pattern and a vegetable and fruit pattern. The results showed that those eating a meat and fat pattern diet were positively associated with developing skin cancer and those participants were more associated with a skin cancer history. Those that consumed a diet rich in vegetables and fruit reduced skin cancer occurrence by 54 percent, with the protective effect mostly attributed to eating green leafy vegetables. The findings from this study concluded that a diet of high meat and fat intake increases skin cancer odds, while a diet rich in green vegetables decreases those odds. Just another reason to reevaluate what we eat each day!
We must remember that each time our skin is exposed to the sun, we use up some of the carotenoids and it’s important to constantly replenish these antioxidants to maintain their protective properties. If you’re rethinking about sitting in the sun to achieve that perfect tan this summer, include more of these powerful antioxidant-rich foods: leafy greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, beans, corn, summer squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, (orange and yellow vegetables), tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranate, and papaya (pink fruit), berries, grapes, turmeric....this should give you a good idea of the Sun Protection you can eat!
For the record, I do want to say that I believe we need to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen about three times each week if possible. Exposure to the sun is an essential nutrient to our body with the obvious benefit of vitamin D conversion. However, there are so many other health benefits we get from spending some time in the sun, as long as you are eating nutrient rich, anti-inflammatory foods, and watching the time of day that you are exposed to the sun. I'll be posting a blog about this topic in the near future!
There you have it! No need to risk our skin’s health by sitting in the sun or on a tanning bed to achieve that healthy glow! Remember, if your skin doesn't have an orange tint, then you are most likely not eating a healthy diet. Be sure to educate your children on sun safety and eating sun protective foods each day! Eating these super nutrient rich foods will not only put us on the path to excellent health, but we’ll have that healthy glow 24/7!
We learn from one another. We are all a work in progress. We'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and words of wisdom on this topic! Thanks so much for stopping by our website! Take charge of your skin's health destiny!
Peace and Grace, 💖
My granddaughter, Claire, enjoying her carrot!! Orange is a good thing!