In order to protect your skin from UV damage, you have to strengthen the cells that line the skin wall. There are many creams that can help protect you from UV rays, but including certain foods and nutrients in your diet will help you from the inside out and benefit your skin in more ways than one, helping to prevent premature skin aging and lower your risk of skin cancer.
Collagen is a protein, made up of amino acids, that is found throughout the body. It’s in your ligaments, tendons, tissues such as the skin, in your bones, vessels and even your gut. It’s what gives your skin it’s elasticity and strength. UV radiation breaks down collagen at a faster rate than with regular aging, so it’s important to nourish your body with collagen-supporting nutrients.
Nutrient Rich Natural Foods that support Collagen production:
Essential nutrients that support collagen production include lutein, lycopene, hyaluronic acid, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Sulphur.
Lutein is a carotenoid found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, swiss chard and bok choy, as well as in mangoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and tomatoes. It helps absorb blue light, a damaging component of sunlight.
Lycopene is another carotenoid that gives tomatoes, red peppers and berries it’s red pigmentation. It’s a powerful antioxidant that supports collagen production. Other foods high in lycopene include watermelon, papaya, guava, red grapefruit, and red cabbage.
Hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate found in the body that helps to maintain proper lubrication and movement for the joints and muscles. As we age, the amount of hyaluronic acid in our body decreases and this is what causes wrinkles and sagging skin. Including certain foods such as beans and legumes in your diet help to plump up your skin and moisturize it, decreasing the effects of ageing.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are vital for most functions of the human body. Studies suggest that EFAs may reduce sun sensitivity. They also help reduce inflammation in the body and improve the overall quality of the skin. Foods rich in Omega-3s include flaxseeds, chia seeds, soybeans, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, broccoli and cauliflower.
Vitamin A is created in the body from beta-carotene, the pigment found in red and orange fruits and vegetables. It’s an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical damage. Foods rich in vitamin A include apricots, cherries, mangos, peaches, watermelon, carrots, pumpkin, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
Vitamin C is a the most common antioxidant that we think when it comes to protecting our immunity. It also protects the skin from harmful UV rays and helps the body manufacture collagen, reducing wrinkles and preventing sagging skin. Kiwi, lemons, oranges, camu camu berries, acerola cherries, peppers, guava, kale, parsley, collard greens, turnips, broccoli, strawberries and papaya are all good sources of vitamin c.