As we hope for spring to finally hit we can’t help but know that it’s time (hopefully!) to prepare for the sun. Generally, when people think about the sun there is way too much focus and attention on its dangers, and far to little focus on all the life-giving and amazing benefits of sunshine! No sun – no life, simple as that.
Many of us are so scared of the sun, focussing on the sun causing wrinkles or skin cancer. But slathering our skin with toxic chemicals found in many sunscreens is certainly not doing ourselves any favors either.
The skin is our largest organ responsible for many important processes, including eliminating toxins and synthesizing sunshine into the vital hormone Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps boost bodies immune system and fight cancer. How about that!?!
Practicing safe sun exposure means 15 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight, in the middle of the day, without any sunscreen and ideally without jumping straight in the shower after… Those 15 minutes can be all it takes to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Of course, I am not in any way advocating that you should lay out all day or get sunburned.
There is also a lot we can do through lifestyle and diet to help strengthen the skin and protect ourselves from too much of the harmful rays yet get that healthy glow and vitamin D that our bodies crave. Enter – smart sun snacks!
Antioxidants and vitamin C is your friend when it comes to protecting your body and your skin from damage. Use berries as your go-to sweet snack or put them in your smoothies. Also, you can snack on dried goji berries on the go for an energy boost, vitamin A, and lots antioxidant power.
RED & ORANGE SUMMER FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Foods with lots of the antioxidant carotenoid are great for the skin and also happens to be foods that are readily available in the summer months! Carotenoid found in a lot of plants is actually used by the plants as sunscreen and can then help activate melanin in us humans. Melanin is the dark pigment that gives us a tan. Watermelon, mango, carrots, and tomatoes are all great sources.
KALE CHIPS & GREEN JUICE
More antioxidants! Those deep, dark leafy greens are also chock full of antioxidants.
SMOKED SALMON & CANNED SARDINES
The omega 3 fatty acids in these foods are anti-inflammatory and help strengthen the skin. Studies show that Omega 3 fatty acids are important nutrients for protecting our skin against sun damage and cancer. If you don’t eat fish at all, try taking a supplement instead!
Coconut has lots of healthy saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that are easily absorbed and used by the body to form new skin and prevent damage from the sun. Snack on coconut chips, make coconut macaroons or simply eat a spoon of coconut oil.
by Katrine Van Wyk