We all know certain foods are good for you, but did you know that some foods boost your skin’s defences against damage from the sun?

Let’s get one thing straight: eating these foods won’t stop the need for sunscreen, but these sun-fighting superfoods can, however, boost your skin’s armour against sun damage and make it less sensitive to UV rays, meaning you can have more fun in the sun.

Stock up on these delicious delights before you slap on the sunscreen…

Tomatoes

Talk about a guilt-free way to enjoy a Bloody Mary! Research from Newcastle University found that people who ate a quarter cup of tomato paste once a day suffered less sunburn and upped their skin’s natural protection against harmful rays by a third.

Why? Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a potent skin protector that even helps to enhance your tan too.

[Related story: Prunes - the original superfood you should be eating more of]

Dark chocolate

We’re constantly told the benefits of dark chocolate but perhaps one of its most powerful is in the fight against sunburn. This treat has flavanols, antioxidants with anti-cancer power that helps to make the skin less sun-sensitive.

Strawberries

Fruits such as strawberries, oranges and kiwi fruit are full of vitamin C, which is known to help block the development of cancer cells. Helping to kill off free radicals that your body produces as a direct response to damage caused by sunlight, vitamin C can help ward off your wrinkles too.

Salmon

Increase the amount of oily fish, like mackerel, salmon and fresh tuna, you eat a week – they’re rich in essential omega-3 fats. This fat helps to waterproof your skin (keeping it hydrated rather than prone to dryness) and fights inflammation too.

[Related story: 8 teas to boost your health and wellbeing]

Tea

Even your bog-standard builder’s tea is a wilful weapon against sunburn. Research suggests that sipping on a cup or more of tea a day could help reduce your risk of skin cancer. If you really want to take it one step further, try swapping one of your brews for an antioxidant-packed green tea.

Carrots

Next time you’re chomping on some carrot sticks and hummus for lunch, remember this - carrots may not only help prevent sun damage, but could reserve it too. A Korean study gave 30 healthy women a daily dose of beta carotene (a compound found in carrots) for three months; as a result, the antioxidants protected and repaired cells. Carrots, you clever little things.

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