Don’t you just love the sun?
But, like oh so many things, yes it’s bad for you! Unfortunately it can damage the skin, lead to premature ageing and skin cancer. Great!
So what can you do to help protect your skin from the sun?
Well, conventional advice relating to protecting ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun includes avoiding the midday sun and wearing sun creams with a high SPF.
All great advice, but did you know that you can help protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun through your diet.
So here is a one-day menu sample of my SPF Diet and it’s all really healthy too as well as seasonal!
Mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
Poached egg on a wholegrain, preferably sour dough, toast with mashed avocado and a side of sliced vine tomatoes drizzled with olive oil
A mug of green tea
4 small squares of dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) with a palm full of almonds
A mug of green tea
Orange Salmon with a salad of romaine lettuce, red pepper, grated carrot, grated courgette, cherry tomatoes and chopped walnuts with a French dressing
Watermelon with sunflower seeds
Free range grass-fed chicken with sweet potato mash steamed kale or spinach both drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
One glass of red wine
So how does this work?
Tomatoes and water melon both contain lycopene which provides long-term protection against the harmful effects of UV-radiation. Lycopene is fat soluble and therefore better absorbed when eaten with fat hence the olive oil with tomatoes at breakfast and the French dressing on the salad at lunch. I have suggested eating the watermelon with almonds.
Berries, green tea, dark chocolate and red wine all contain amazing antioxidants called flavonoids which help protect the body from sun damage
Berries, salad vegetables, kiwi, the orange in the salmon dish and the lemon in the French dressing are all good sources of Vitamin C which help block the development of cancer cells. Vitamin C is great for helping kill off free radicals which our body produces in response to the cellular damage caused by exposure to sunlight.
Almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach and avocado all contain Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that protects against sun damage. This vitamin has also proven to slow the aging of skin cells and help diminish the appearance of scars.
Salmon and walnuts are great sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids which have incredible anti-inflammatory powers. Research suggests that Omega 3 Fatty Acids can help protect cells from the free radical damage caused by the sun. other studies suggest that adding Omega 3 to the diet may help to prevent some types of skin cancer. Chicken too if grass fed should also provide Omega 3.
Sweet potato, carrots, spinach, romaine lettuce and red peppers all contain beta carotene a vitamin and a powerful anti-oxidant which helps protect against cancer and aging. Beta carotene is a fat soluble vitamin so it is better absorbed by the body if eaten alongside fat which is why the French dressing is important at lunch and why it’s a good idea drizzle the vegetable in the evening meal with Olive oil. Don’t be frightened of fat, believe me it isn’t fat which makes you fat, for more on this subject see my blog post Eat Fat, lose Weight.