A guest post by our Nutrition Director, Yvonne Nienstadt.
Feed your skin, especially during the summer. Nutrient packed skin is not so quick to burn and is likely to heal much more readily. Eat plenty of foods that nature offers in abundance during the sun drenched months: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains all contain nutrients and phytochemicals that feed and protect the skin. Think rainbow colors when choosing vegetables – the greater variety of colors you eat, the greater your skin is protected.
Keep your intake of antioxidant nutrients high. Many antioxidants have been shown to significantly lower cancer risks of all types including skin cancers. These nutrients may help to neutralize the negative effects of radiation and chemicals in the air and may minimize skin damage risks.
Antioxidants to Consume:
- Natural vitamin E (dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, and avocado)
- Vitamin A (sweet potato, carrots, and spinach)
- Vitamin C (papaya, bell peppers, and broccoli)
- Alpha lipoic acid, also known as the universal antioxidant (small amounts are found in spinach, broccoli and yams – or take in supplement form)
- Pycnogenol (pine bark supplement)
- Theanine and catechins (found in brown, white, green or black tea)
- Selenium (a trace mineral found in nutritional yeast, whole grains, tuna, seafood, and Brazil nuts)
When it comes to protecting your skin make sure you get your essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3 from flaxseed or fatty fish like trout, salmon, albacore, and blue fin tuna. Omega 3 is the anti-inflammatory and antitumor essential fat used both structurally and functionally in every cell.
Avoid too much omega 6 oil which comes from refined soy, corn, safflower, and sunflower. Refined omega 6 is pro-inflammatory if taken in excess. Especially avoid trans fat laden hydrogenated oils found in shortening, margarine and many baked and fried goods. Trans fats are free radical generators and are dangerous for the skin and internal tissue.
You can add the contents of a capsule of vitamin A and vitamin E, powdered vitamin C (calcium ascorbate with bioflavonoids is best), and selenium to your sun block for added protection. You can also add these supplements to your moisturizer post-sun exposure to protect and heal the skin. For a guide to safe sunscreens and moisturizers visit the Environmental Working Group website.
Disclaimer: This article is meant for informational purposes only. Please check with your doctor before taking any new supplements.