The topic of how to decrease the risk of skin cancer and increase our skin defences has conducted a large number of research topics. Such as applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, avoiding long periods of time outside. These effective recommendations protect us from the sun’s invisible harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Focusing on an additional layer of UV defence some research has moved to another protective way: foods.
When UV radiation, pollution and other environmental insults damage the skin cells, the body releases reactive oxygen species, molecules to help repair the damage, and free radicals, which trigger inflammation and generate the risk of skin cancer. In response, the human body launches a defence with antioxidants that fight these triggers and repair the damage.
Studies have shown that the plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds includes carotenoids, polyphenols and some vitamins in foods, may improve the skin’s ability to fight off UV damage and sunburn or speed up the recovery process from damage by body antioxidants.
Additional benefits include improved circulation to the skin surface, increased cell turnover, and juicier skin cells. Besides, the plant-based diet will improve the skin’s tightness and elasticity.
One of the best food groups to boost the natural sun defence are foods high in Lycopene. Studies suggest lycopene has photo-protective benefits, which can offer skin protection against UV light. Lycopene is easier for the body to absorb when the food has been heated.
According to the study results, humans need to consume 10 to 16 milligrams of lycopene per day to offer photo-protective benefits. Lycopene may help boost the skin’s defences against UVB rays.
- Lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon
- Carotenoids: red, orange and yellow foods like carrots, bell peppers, squash, grapefruit, oranges and apricots
- Polyphenols: green tea, the darkest chocolate you can tolerate and dark berries like cherries and blackberries
- Vitamin C: strawberries, dark leafy greens, broccoli, citrus and red bell peppers
- Vitamin E: Spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados
There is evidence that vitamin C can help limit skin damage from UV exposure. While oral vitamin E has tested the potential photo-protective benefits of oral vitamin E supplementation, it may not offer much protection. However, when vitamin C is combined with vitamin E, studies show that it may reduce the rate at which skin burns and reduce the amount of DNA damage after UV exposure.