Antioxidants found in foods can have a great impact on our skin. By fighting free radicals, antioxidants are able to repair cell damage, which lead to wrinkles, loss of elasticity and fine lines.
Antioxidant activity works in different ways. For example, carotenoids (found in orange and red fruits and vegetables) accumulate in skin to absorb various wavelengths of sunlight. Antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties that decrease the development of sunburn and possibly the risk of skin cancer.
Read more: What You Didn’t Know About Sun Protection
Apart from religiously wearing broad spectrum sunscreen (above SPF 30), here are some foods you should add in your regular diet for youthful-looking skin:
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, ellagic acid and anti-inflammatory agents, which helps to reduce cell damage caused by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
Tomatoes contain a compound called lycopene that help to protect against sunburn. Lycopene is better absorbed by the body when found in processed tomatoes (e.g. tomato paste), that’s one more reason to have your pasta! Other lycopene-rich foods are watermelon and pink grapefruit.
Carrots, bell peppers & dark leafy greens
Carrots, red bell peppers and any other fruit or vegetable that is red or orange in colour contains beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A and can help to reduce redness and the effects of sunburn. Dark leafy greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, that help to prevent wrinkles and protect us from the sun.
Citrus fruit like oranges, lemon and lime are loaded with Vitamin C, which is known to protect from free radical damage and promote youthful looking skin.
Walnuts & Flaxseeds
Nuts are rich in vitamin E and plant-based omega-3 that protect skin from moisture loss and UV damage.
Risks of antioxidant supplements not fully understood
While antioxidant in foods offer plenty of sun protection benefits, studies have shown that antioxidants in the form of supplements pose health risks. A study in France found that antioxidant supplements increased the incidence of melanoma in women.