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Guide to Nutrition for Sun Damaged Skin

How Nutrients and Foods Protect Skin From Sun Damage

The array of nutritional remedies for protecting skin from sun damage is wide and varied, from eating more tomatoes to drinking green tea. The purpose of this nutrition guide is to spread the word about dietary habits, nutrients and foods that can help protect skin from sun damage, plus provide the readers with tasty recipes featuring some of the best skin-protecting foods.

Sunlight, in moderation, confers a number of health benefits. Exposure to sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the body, which in turn supports bone health, enhances immunity, and regulates blood pressure. A moderate exposure to sunlight may also play a role in preventing certain cancers, such as prostate, breast and colon cancer. Furthermore, exposure to sunlight increases levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes a sense of well being. This is why some people develop symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (aka winter blues) when sunlight is limited.

However, as is true for many things in life, moderation is the key. For most people, 5 to 30 minutes per day of sun exposure on the face and arms is enough. Overexposure leads to sunburn which occurs when the body cannot make enough melanin — a skin pigment that protects the skin from the sun's ultraviolet radiation and harmful free radicals. Besides the short-term redness, pain, blistering, and peeling of the skin, overexposure to sunlight can lead to long-term damage, including premature skin aging (caused by UVA rays) and cell mutation in the skin layers (triggered by UVB rays), which may lead to skin cancer.

The best way to protect the skin from excessive UV radiation is to avoid staying in the sun for too long (especially when the sun is strongest) and to wear protective clothing. Also applying a sunscreen with a sufficient Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is recommended when staying in the sun. In addition to these preventive measures, you can enhance the skin's own protective mechanisms through dietary choices. To learn all about dietary habits, nutrients and foods that can help protect the skin from sun damage, check out the diet, food and recipe sections below: