Since I now live in the sunshine state I have to say that it is has become a daily battle of ‘Alison versus the sun’. I love being outdoors and I especially love being in the beautiful ocean, but I have to say, skin cancer and photo-aging are a constant threat to my current new outdoor type of lifestyle. There are the obvious remedies which involve long sleeves, big hat and plenty of sunscreen (the truth about sunscreen; the good and the bad will likely be the topic of my next blog) but you know me, I am constantly doing my research on ways to protect my health, this time my skin, from the inside out. I strongly believe that we need to always focus on how we are nourishing ourselves from the inside out, and then simultaneously we need to protect ourselves from the outside in.
Here is what I have come up with so far.
It is hard to directly correlate and test the role of food in preventing various skin cancer but eating certain foods may definitely help. Several studies have looked at antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and vitamin A, as well as folic acid, fats and proteins, and a variety of whole foods and their role in the possible prevention of skin cancer. While results are not absolutely 100% clear, antioxidants may offer some protection from skin cancer.
substances that may help protect your skin from sun-related damage:
- Apigenin, a flavonoid found in vegetables and fruits, including broccoli, celery, onions, tomatoes, apples, cherries and grapes, and in tea and wine
- Curcumin, found in the spice turmeric
- Resveratrol, found in grape skins, red wine, and peanuts
- Quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples and onions
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Many herbs and herbal combinations are used to prevent and treat cancer in general.
- Green tea (Camellia sinensis) contains polyphenols, chemicals that are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants get rid of particles in the body called free radicals, which damage DNA. Researchers think free radicals may play a role in cancer. The main polyphenol in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Scientific studies suggest that EGCG and other green tea polyphenols may prevent skin tumors from starting or growing. .
- Other herbs with antioxidant and skin-protecting effects include bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), and hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata). Although there are no scientific studies on using these herbs to treat skin cancer, they have been used traditionally to protect the skin.
So this week and upcoming weekend if you plan on sunbathing or being outdoors, before you head outside and after you slather on your non nano zinc sunscreen, maybe indulge in a cup of green tea or blend it all together in a smoothie along with apples, ginger, carrots and a few cherries. Cheers to summer and healthy skin!
Carrot apple ginger green tea skin protecting smoothie:
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium apple, cored
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
- 4 ounces of filtered water
- 4 ounces of brewed organic green tea
Start by adding the liquid to your blender, I use my vitamix, followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
Creamy melon sunscreen smoothie recipe:
3 cups watermelon, 1/2 cup of seeded cherries, chopped
1 cup nonfat organic yoghurt containing probiotic bacteria
1/2 cup green tea brewed from loose leaves, chilled
1 tbsp fresh mint, minced optional
Lemon juice, and a dab of rind, freshly pressed
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until creamy