Friday, May 8, 2015

Foods for Protecting Your Skin

Getting the right balance of sun exposure can be tricky. On one hand, most people in the northern hemisphere are lacking in vitamin D (cholecalciferol, synthesized by the skin when exposed to the sun) which can protect the body from many cancers, in addition to many other health benefits. On the other hand, the sun is officially considered a carcinogen, with damaging UV rays that can lead to skin cancer. So, finding the right balance of sun exposure is a fine line, and is different for everyone depending on your skin's hue, where you live, vitamin D levels, and family history. (Consult your Dr. for recommendations that pertain to your health.)

But, one trick you can have in your arsenal to protect your skin is eating the right foods. UV rays oxidize the oils and other compounds in your skin to create free radicals and damages DNA. We associate sun damage with sunburn, but much of this damage is invisible, taking years to show up to the naked eye. It has been found that diets rich in phytonutrients, omega-3 and omega-9 fats, and low in omega-6 fats, can counteract some of these damaging effects by providing antioxidants to the skin. (Source) Let's take a look at some foods that are rich in nutrition to help support healthy skin.


Resveratrol, found in grape skins, and proanthocyanidins from grape seeds have both been found to have potent anti-oxidant properties. (Source) (Source)

Flax Seeds

With high amounts of fiber for detoxification, and a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, flax seeds are a healthy skin powerhouse. (Source)


Many studies detail the antioxidant properties of turmeric's active compound, curcumin. One study found turmeric extract to be toxic to certain skin cancer cells.

Bell Peppers

Vitamin C has been found to suppress the growth of skin cell tumors; as one of the foods richest in vitamin C, bell peppers are not just delicious in a fajita, but great for your skin.
(Source) Other foods rich in vitamin C include cherries, kale, broccoli leaves, and blueberries.

Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Cabbage)

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain a compound called sulforane, a potent antioxidant that's being studied as, among other things, a skin cancer treatment. (Source)

Brazil Nuts

A recent study found that patients with skin cancer had lower levels of zinc, copper, and selenium than those without skin cancer. Brazil nuts have the highest known levels of selenium than any other food, plus a 1 oz serving (6 kernels) supplies you with a quarter of your RDA of copper and 8% RDA of zinc.

Of course nothing is a substitute for a broad-spectrum physical sunblock (or a hat!) when going out in the sun for longer periods of time. (We recommend Badger's line of sunblock products.) But now you can protect your skin from within with some healthy (and delicious) foods.

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