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Beyond the SPF

Article posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, July 22nd, 2013


It is summertime so that means a lot more time spent outdoors in the sun. (you know, the bright thing that pops out every once and awhile around these parts?) We all know it is important to us sunscreen to protect our skin from damaging rays, but wait, there is more you can do.


What we put IN our bodies can help protect our skin along with what we put ON our bodies. There are some delicious foods that help protect your skin from the sun and some have even shown a link to a decrease in skin cancer. Who knew? So while it is important to keep slathering on the sunscreen, try adding some of these foods for a sun protection boost.


  • Tomatoes and Watermelon. Both of these popular picnic foods contain the antioxidant lycopene, which studies have associated with a decreased risk of skin cancer. Research shows that eating lycopene-containing foods regularly can increase your skin's protection from the sun by 33 percent! So load that basket and hit the park.


  • Salmon. This fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that are not only good for your heart, but also great for protecting your skin. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in fighting off free radicals in the body, which can occur as a result of overexposure to U.V. rays. This could help cut your melanoma risk in half! Throw a salmon burger in place of that hamburger on the grill tonight.



  • Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. These orange-colored veggies have nutrients in them called carotenoids that actually build up in the skin when you eat them, offering increased protection from sun damage. Nothing more convenient for the pool, park or trail than a bag a baby carrots.


  • Green Tea. In general I’m a coffee girl, but green tea does so much for our bodies. It enhances cardiovascular function, demonstrates anti-cancer activity, supports the immune system, detoxifies the body, aids weight control, and also protects skin cells from exposure to UVA and UVB rays. Okay, I’m sold.


  • Dark chocolate. As a self declared chocoholic, this must be why I rarely burn. Studies show that cocoa can make the skin 25% less sensitive to the sun. Just ditch the milk chocolate and keep it dark with at least 70% cocoa. Try dark chocolate in a s’more, your kids will never know the difference.

  • Turmeric. This yellow root contains a profoundly beneficial compound that possesses superior anti-inflammatory activity, boosts metabolism, an protects your skin. So burn fat, not your skin with this tasty spice.


Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

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