PHOENIX -- Sunscreen isn't the only thing you need when it comes to fighting off harmful ultraviolet rays. More research is showing that what you eat could be another tool in protecting your skin from the inside and out.
“Getting upwards of 20 to 30 grams of soy protein in a day is what's recommended to give you some of the sun-protected benefits,” said Bashas’ registered dietitian Barbara Ruhs. “Canned tomatoes and canned tomato paste is also a very rich source.”
Items like soy milk and tomatoes are just a few products that Ruhs said can be considered edible sunscreens.
“The pigments that give so many plants, fruits and vegetables this colorful appearance also offer some sun protection,” Ruhs said.
She said other skin-fighting foods include carrots, berries, apples and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach.
“They help to absorb some of the damaging ultraviolet radiation or they act like an air bag,” Ruhs said. “So they help to prevent further damage once you have been exposed.”
But recent research shows, what you drink could also be a big benefit.
“There was a recent study in 2000 that looked at people living in southern Arizona who were tea drinkers,” Ruhs said. “And they had a lower incidence of cancer risk just because they were drinking two to three cups of green tea per day.”
Whether it's drinking green tea or eating healthy foods, Ruhs said your diet is just one more tool.
“We’re not saying don't wear sunscreen,” Ruhs continued. “We want you to wear sun-protective gear. However, eating a healthy diet is just an added protective beneficial thing that you can do.”
Ruhs article on skin-fighting foods will be featured in the Environmental Nutrition August newsletter.