It's scorching! While there are plenty of things you can do to cool down (clothes in the fridge anyone?) what you eat can actually keep you cooler and help protect against sun damage.
While foods like broccoli, cantaloupe melon and grapefruit are great for their high water content, Lovisa Nilsson, in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, gives us the low down on other foods with some surprising summer health benefits – including protection from the sun’s rays.
Eat a lot of vitamin C-rich berries and fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and kiwi during the summer months. The vitamin C and the phytonutrient act like a natural sunblock and helps to prevent you from burning. A 100-gram of strawberries and 1.5 kiwis cover your daily need of vitamin C. You can eat a lot of fruits each day, but I would suggest eating them with other foods that will limit the sugar uptake.
Cucumber contains mostly water, which helps your skin to stay hydrated. The vegetable also helps to produce collagen, which is a good anti-cancer property.
Tomatoes are one of the top sun protection superfoods. All types of tomatoes are full of antioxidants that help to protect your skin from UV-radiation. The vitamin C and the lycopene found in tomatoes help to keep the skin hydrated and fight free radicals.
Cooked tomatoes contain even more lycopene than fresh ones. Lycopene has other health benefits including improving heart health and preventing diabetes. According to a study, if you eat four tablespoons of tomato paste in olive oil each day for three months it will protect you against sunburn.
This fruit works just like tomatoes. It is rich in antioxidants, which limit the UV-radiation on your body. It is also full of water so eat three to four slices a day to stay hydrated during the warm summer months. However, don’t overeat as the sugar may increase the blood sugar levels.
Leafy greens are high in vitamin A and help to protect you from the UV radiation, limit dryness and irritation of your skin. Eat greens twice a day for the best results. I would suggest using spinach as a foundation to your salad as it is rich in beta-carotene. Try to avoid lettuce if it is iceberg lettuce, it is a huge environment villain. Spinach is good, as are mache and arugula which contain a lot of vitamins and minerals.
Carrots are another sun fighting power food. The beta-carotene in carrots, which the body converts to vitamin A, has been linked to reduce reaction to sunburn. Try to eat a few carrots a day. Cut them in sticks and eat them with guacamole, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and helps to reduce the risk of sunburn and develop an even skin tone.
Dairy products like natural yoghurt, also contain a lot of vitamin A. If you are not a fan of carrots you can try other vitamin A food such as liver and other organ meats, eel, root vegetables, fruit, tuna, egg, low fat dairy, mango, kale, apricot, spinach and nettles.
This fruit is extremely rich in antioxidants, ellagic acid and has anti-inflammatory agents, which can help your skin to resists cell damaged caused by UVA and UVB rays. Pomegranate has been proven to be beneficial to our health and fighting against ageing and sun-damaged skin. Try to eat two to three fruits a week, either the seeds with natural yoghurt or sprinkled over your salad, or drink a fresh pomegranate juice with ice.