Daily runs can put a strain on your skin – think about all that sweating and exposure to the sun’s rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer by age 70, most of which is associated with UV rays from the sun. And let’s not forget: if the UVA and UVB wavelengths aren’t visible to the naked eye, that doesn’t make them any less harmful to the health of our largest organ.
By now, we all know how to apply sunscreen and don a brimmed cap and dark sunglasses for the highest degree of protection when you sweat outdoors. But there is one crucial step in your sunscreen routine that you may not be aware of: what you eat. Research shows that certain foods can help protect your skin against skin cancer, wrinkles, and other problems.
While a salad is not a substitute for regular sunscreen use, these healthy eating habits are a solid way to give your skin relief.
1. Eat more Mediterranean foods
Switching from a standard American diet to a Mediterranean diet is not only good for the heart, it can also be an ally in the fight against serious skin disease. A report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely over a 15-year period had a lower risk of skin cancer, especially melanoma and basil cell carcinoma. Another study supported this result: it found an association between better adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a 72% lower risk of skin cancer in adult men and women. Researchers found that low-fat fruits and dairy products were especially helpful for skin health.
The Mediterranean diet is centered on the consumption of plants (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts) and monounsaturated fats. This ensures that people consume large amounts of foods containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which provide a protective component to our skin, especially against damage from the sun and other environmental factors, including pollution, according to Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, MS, RDN, CSSD, owner of Eat 4 Sport.
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2. Taste the grapes
Here’s a piece of news that makes grapes an even sweeter treat: People who consumed freeze-dried grape powder every day for 14 days, or the equivalent of 2.25 cups of fresh grapes per day, had a significant increase in polyphenolic antioxidants in their skin. This is probably why they were nearly 75 percent more resistant to sunburn induced by ultraviolet light, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Remember that sunburn increases your risk of developing skin cancer later on.
The biopsy results also revealed an association between grape consumption and less damage to skin cells and less inflammatory markers after exposure to UV rays. Polyphenols found in grapes can help repair damage from UV rays and also reduce inflammation.
Future research needs to determine whether certain varieties of grapes are more protective against sun-induced skin damage, but concord and purple grapes have been shown to have a higher concentration of polyphenolic antioxidants (beneficial compounds that we get through. certain plant-based foods) than green or red grapes. As an added bonus, Giles says the natural sugars you get from eating a few handfuls of nature’s candy after a sunny run can help you replenish your carbohydrate energy stores and help you recover.
Giles notes that raisins, which are simply dried grapes, also contain a high concentration of polyphenols. And don’t overlook other fruits such as cherries, blueberries, and blackberries which also contain a cocktail of polyphenols that can help your skin.
3. Make your plate colorful
An investigation in the newspaper ONE MORE determined that an increased intake of carotenoids (bright yellow, red and orange pigments in plants) – found in bright vegetables like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, carrots and peppers – over six weeks may have a beneficial impact on the reduction of UV rays. induced reddening of the skin and other discoloration. Researchers have seen benefits for the skin with just three servings per day of vegetables and fruits rich in carotenoids.
New research also suggests that carotenoids, like beta-carotene and lycopene, may limit oxidative stress in skin cells and inhibit inflammatory cytokines (small proteins important in cell signaling) that break down skin collagen (a protein responsible for joint health and skin elasticity).
“Carotenoids can build up in the epidermis of our skin where they are effective in stopping cancer cell formation,” says Giles.
To make carotenoids work harder for your skin, Giles says it’s best to consume them with a source of dietary fat, since they’re fat soluble. Adding a drizzle of olive oil or sliced avocado to a salad should do the trick.
“Ideally, you want to eat a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits each day to make sure you have lots of different carotenoids available to you,” says Giles.
4. Go salmon fishing
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which can provide natural protection against the sun’s rays. As stated in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at the University of Manchester found that people who supplement their diets with omega-3s and then were exposed to the equivalent of 8, 15 or 30 minutes of midday sun in summer, experienced up to 50 % less immune system suppression induced by sunlight. – which affects your body’s ability to fight skin cancer and infections – than participants who did not take omega-3 fatty acids.
The level of omega-3 intake was equivalent to about 6 ounces of fatty fish per day, so it remains to be seen whether lower intakes can also help keep our skin healthy.
What’s more, a major review also showed that including more fish in your diet, as well as eating more fruits and vegetables, could help prevent the development of acne.
5. Bite into almonds
The main cause of wrinkles and changes in skin pigmentation is photoaging, which is damage to the skin caused by exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet rays. Since most errands take place during the day, it may be a good idea to keep your pantry well stocked with almonds.
Research from the University of California-Davis suggests that a daily habit of almonds may benefit skin health by improving measurements of the width and severity of wrinkles. The total amount of almonds consumed by the postmenopausal women in the study was about 2 ounces per day for four months. It is not known whether lower amounts of nut intake in other demographic groups will also benefit the appearance of the skin. However, researchers are optimistic that the nutritional stew in almonds, including the beneficial fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, may have skin-beneficial powers for all.
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