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Foods that Protect from Sunburn And Skin Cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Foods can help protect from skin cancer

Skin cancer and premature skin aging from the sun are preventable with sunscreen and by eating the right foods. A focus on the right foods offers protection from sunburn and skin cancer, from the inside out. Foods that attack free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation can keep us looking younger and protect from sunburn that leads to skin cancer, pre-cancerous skin changes.

Sip some cocoa

Dark chocolate, the kind that comes from genuine cocoa, not milk chocolate, protects from sunburn and is a powerful antioxidant. Start your day in the sun with a cup of cocoa. Two ounces of dark chocolate a day is a healthy way to gain health benefits that include protection from sunburn and skin cancer.

Drink tea

Green and black teas contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, and can offer protection from sunburn from the inside out. Drinking two or more cups of either black or green tea reduces the risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer by thirty percent, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Green tea is a more powerful protector from damaging rays of the sun that can cause sunburn that can lead to skin cancer and pre-cancerous skin lesions.

Vegetables pack a powerful punch for skin protection

Green leafy vegetables can reduce your risk of lung and colon cancer, and protect your skin too. According to the International Journal of Cancer, spinach, kale, and chard may reduce risk of squamous cell cancer by fifty percent. Paul Talalay, MD, from Johns Hopkins University has studied the protective benefits of broccoli for twenty-five years. He and his colleagues have discovered that broccoli sprouts are powerful when it comes to cancer protection. He warns, “Broccoli isn’t a substitute for sunscreen, but the protection you get won’t wash off in the pool”. You can incorporate the benefits of broccoli for protection from skin cancer from the sun by eating one half cup daily. Put broccoli on a salad or add some broccoli sprouts to your sandwich. Better yet, take a handful to the beach with a healthy veggie dip to protect from sunburn.

Omega-3s fight skin inflammation

Omega 3 fatty acids from fish reduce inflammation and can reduce your risk of melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer. Eat two servings of fish per week. Fish oil supplements are also beneficial to reduce risk of sunburn. Mackerel, trout, salmon, herring and sardines are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids that can protect skin from deadly melanoma, and other forms of skin cancer from sunburn.

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Plants as sunscreen

Colorful fruits are high in carotenoids and lycopene. Carotenoids offer skin and eye protection from the sun. According to Ralph Felder, MD, PhD, “The more colorful the plant, the higher its protection against unwanted rays.” Dr. Felder is an Internist and author of The Bonus Years Diet. He also explains: “When you and I go out in the sun, we put on sunscreen. Plants use color as sunscreen.”, helping us reduce signs of skin aging and from development of skin cancer.

A study, performed in 2001, looked at volunteers who ate 40 grams of tomato paste in addition to two teaspoons of olive oil (for absorption) over a ten-week period. The group was forty percent less likely to experience sunburn when exposed to harmful UV rays.

Watermelon is rich in lycopene, making it a great choice to protect your skin from sunburn and possibility of developing skin cancer.

Combine food with skin care for sun protection

Use fresh sunscreen. Sunscreen loses potency. Purchase a fresh bottle every year. Remember to get at least twenty minutes of UV rays without sunscreen daily to get the benefits of vitamin D. Too much sun can expose us to dangers from skin cancer.

Eating the right foods benefits overall health, and can keep sunburn away by reducing inflammation and protecting from damage associated with harmful free radicals from too much sun exposure. A combination skin cream containing vitamin E and Vitamin C can also protect from sunburn and aging. Skin lotions containing green tea extracts can also protect from sunburn that can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Combining the right skin care and eating foods that protect the skin from damage can prevent sunburn and skin changes that lead to skin cancer, premature aging, and pre-cancerous skin lesions.


Skin and Allergy News: Volume 32, Issue 5
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: Volume 18, Issue 5

Image credit: Pixabay

Updated 7/29/2014



|Drinking fruit juice can help your skin be more beautiful. Fruits and vegetables as we all know are good for are overall health, but did you know they are also good for your skin? If you find it difficult to consumer enough fruits and vegetables, fruit juice is a good way to sneak a few more in. Simply replacing sweet drinks, such as soda, will drastically improve your skin's texture and moisture.