Maintaining healthy, glowing skin throughout the summer months requires more than applying sunscreen before you hit the beach. It is essential to eat foods high in certain vitamins and minerals to prevent skin damage like excessive aging and wrinkles.
Fortunately, many foods that are in season during the summer months are loaded with vitamins and powerful antioxidants that protect cells from the damage caused by the sun’s rays. Strive to incorporate a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet each day. Oranges are just one of many fruits high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant, it also helps your body to produce collagen, a protein that keeps skin firm and tight. Studies link higher Vitamin C intake with fewer wrinkles and less age associated dry skin. Other fruits and vegetables packed with Vitamin C include strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, kiwi, cantaloupe, and bell peppers.
Lycopene is another powerful phytonutrient you should strive to regularly incorporate into your diet. While 85% of American dietary intake of lycopene comes from tomatoes and tomato products, which are busting with flavor throughout the season, other summer foods high in this phytonutrient include watermelon, papaya and apricots. Slice up watermelon at your next picnic, or serve sliced apricots or papaya as a sweet topping to a scoop of Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Essential fatty acids are also important for healthy skin and are easy to incorporate into your diet during the summer months. Salmon contains omega-3 fats that help protect against sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Grilling burgers may come to mind when you picture the perfect summer barbecue, but fish straight off the grill is an extremely healthy and tasty choice. Avocados, nuts and seeds are also a source of the healthy fats that are extremely beneficial to your skin and make great summer snacks or salad toppings. Make sure to limit your intake of saturated fat as research shows that higher levels are associated with skin aging.
And of course remember to drink plenty of water during the summer months! You’ve heard it before, but drinking adequate amounts of water is important when it comes to radiant skin. Green tea is also a terrific summer beverage. The powerful phytonutrients it contains have been shown to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV radiation. So brew up a pitcher of iced green tea and add a squeeze or two of fresh squeezed lemon which helps boost phytonutrient absorption even more. Make sure to limit sugar sweetened beverages as a high sugar diet can accelerate skin aging by damaging the collagen in your skin.
Consume these foods year round to fight off sunspots and wrinkles and help you look and feel great.