Edible sunscreen sounds pretty terrible. But did you know that some of the foods you eat can help give your skin a natural boost in sun protection? Though diet won’t take the place of classic topical broad-spectrum sunscreen (applied early and often), these foods all have nutrients that help protect your skin against sun damage.
Strawberries: A study by Spanish and Italian researchers found that strawberry extract helped protect skin cells from ultraviolet radiation. Try some in a strawberry lassi.
Sweet potatoes: These tubers are supremely rich in beta-carotene, a vitamin A derivative that helps protect skin against sunburns. Make this grilled sweet potato salad or get your beta-carotene from carrots, mangoes and dark leafy greens.
Kale: Kale and other cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts) are major sources of a few nutrients that help protect your skin from sun damage: beta-carotene, folate and sulfurophane. All the more reason to make kale chips.
Tomatoes: Summer’s plump red prizes are a great source of lycopene, which can help protect your skin against burns. You’ll get the highest concentrations of lycopene in cooked tomatoes, like in this simple tomato sauce. You can also get lycopene in pink grapefruit and watermelon.
Salmon: Salmon and other oily fish, like mackerel, trout and sardines, have lots of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help your immune system destroy cells that have been damaged by UV rays, which then lowers your risk for skin cancer. Try this planked salmon.
Red wine: The resveratrol in red wine might help to lessen the effects of UV light and sun damage. Remember that if you want alcohol to help, not harm, your health, you need to drink responsibly: that’s one drink a day for women, two for men.