With warm days in the forecast, weekends booked up with outdoor plans, and the season’s wardrobe sliding into minimalist mode, summer is an exuberant season that loves to deliver the happy vibes. But while all the fun in the sun is nourishing for the soul, the truth is our skin isn’t always as pleased. A kiss of sunshine is healthy – essential even, with its vitamin D benefits – yet extended sun exposure can become an expedited ticket to topical aging, and sometimes even inducing more serious consequences, like skin cancer. So, what’s a sun-worshiper to do?
Quality natural sunscreens are undoubtedly an excellent way to help shield the skin from harmful rays. However, skin care is not all about what you put on the outside of your body – there’s also strong merit to what you put on the inside. It’s true: certain micronutrients can help to both repair previous damage to the skin, as well as protect against premature aging and further skin cell deterioration. Read on for some of the best micronutrient-packed superfoods to consume for some effective skin salvation.
Camu Berries: Vitamin C is a very skin-supportive nutrient all around. In addition to helping reduce inflammation, vitamin C’s antioxidant capabilities help fight cell-damaging free radicals, and studies have shown the nutrient can even prevent and reduce wrinkles. Camu berries are the highest source of vitamin C of any known food, making them an efficient way to build up this nutrient in the system. Mostly found in powdered form, simply start adding a pinch or two of camu to your smoothies for damage-protection.
Goji Berries: The scientific community has linked regular consumption of beta-carotene, an orange-pigmented antioxidant, with helping protect your skin against sunburn. Goji berries are an excellent source of beta-carotene (they contain more than even carrots!), and are also a great source of vitamin C as well. It’s easy to keep some dried goji berries on hand as a part of your outdoor snack routine, or toss a few into your favorite breakfast bowl. You can also incorporate more carotene-rich foods overall – such as carrots and yams – into your daily diet for extra protection.
Spirulina & Chlorella: They may be deep green, but these powerful forms of edible algae are a great source of skin-saving beta-carotene too! And speaking of carotenoid antioxidants, spirulina also contains an exceptionally powerful “super-antioxidant” called astaxanthin, which is 550 times more effective in fighting free radicals than vitamin E, and has been shown to protect the skin against UV radiation. You can add these potent green powders to smoothies, or you can also buy pure astaxanthin in supplement form.
Green & Black Tea: Tea leaves (including matcha) are exceptional sources of polyphenol antioxidants, which actively fight free radical exposure, and have even been shown to reduce the risk of some skin cancers by 30%! Enjoy an iced green tea before venturing outside, or work a little matcha powder into your next batch of homemade popsicles.
Cacao: As if this wasn’t the best news ever: studies show that eating dark chocolate (chocolate with a high cacao content) may act as a mild sunscreen. The high flavonoid content in cacao can both help fight skin cancer, as well as decrease the effects of UV light. For the maximum potency of flavonoids, consume real cacao powder or cacao nibs (as opposed to a chocolate bar), which can be infused into absolutely anything that could use a little chocolate love … which basically means everything, right?!