Can Certain Foods Offer Sun Protection?

When trying to achieve sun protection, lotions and oils with high SPF percentages are very important along with clothing enhancements such as wide brimmed hats. But what about diet? More and more information is arising regarding sun protection and the use of specific foods that not only work topically, but from the inside out to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Keep in mind that the foods below that claim to help protect the skin from the sun’s rays are merely suggestions and should be used cautiously. The sun’s UV rays are more powerful than they were just ten years ago, therefore, the radiation effect is that much stronger. If you choose to experiment with certain foods that offer sun protection, try it in moderation while still protecting yourself with conventional over-the-counter remedies. When you are sure it is working for you then you can adjust your chemical usage. Overall, do not let yourself get burned.


Sulforaphene is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is found in cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli. Studies have shown that when broccoli is topically applied it reduces redness and swelling due to overexposed skin by actually penetrating the dermis and programming cells to protect themselves. Broccoli should be cleaned, cut and ground down in a food processor with water. Add the mixture to a spray bottle and you will have a fantastic sunscreen.

Vitamin D

If you completely avoid the sun most days of the year then you might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. The body produces vitamin D primarily through absorbing the sun’s rays. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength, and liver and kidney function as well as immune system and thyroid gland function. Below are some foods that are high in vitamin D:

  • oatmeal
  • sardines
  • sweet potatoes
  • fish
  • vegetable oils
  • dairy
  • dark leafy greens like kale and spinach


Lycopene is a UV-blocking antioxidant that is found in red vegetables and fruits (with the exception of strawberries and cherries) that include:

  • tomatoes
  • watermelon
  • papaya
  • pink grapefruit
  • apricots

Vitamin E

The pearl sized capsules filled with vitamin E oil are best friends to your skin. You can break open a capsule and apply it to a sunburn or skin blemishes and you may see a big difference overnight. Eating foods that are high in vitamin E will enhance your skin’s ability to protect itself as well. Here are a few key sources of vitamin E:

  • dark leafy greens like kale and spinach
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds

Green Tea Extract

Green tea is known to block UV rays both externally as well as internally. It seems to be added to everything, from shampoo to candy these days. However, to get the best results it’s a good idea to buy green tea extract. This comes in an eyedropper-capped bottle, and adding about 30 drops to hot water gives you the benefits of approximately 20 cups of green tea, which is what studies suggest are a beneficial amount.



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