Health

The Skin-Saver Diet

5 foods that help protect your skin from sun damage — including coffee and chocolate

As summer gets closer and the days get longer, it becomes more and more important to protect your skin. You already know that sunscreen is a must – but for added protection, head to your kitchen.

Certain foods are full of nutrients that can help defend against damaging UV rays (the kinds that cause skin cancer). Here are five of our favorite skin-saving foods

1. Coffee. Your favorite morning pick-me-up can also help protect your skin from sun damage. Studies have shown that women who drink more than three cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, by 20%. The researchers believe the caffeine in coffee may zap cancerous cells after sun damage occurs. But that’s not all you get from your daily cup of joe. Check out some other coffee perks in this video from Sharecare expert Chris Kilham.

2. Lemons. Lemons (as well as other citrus fruits) contain high amounts of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects skin cells from damaging free radicals. Lemons also contain a compound called limonene, which may ward off cancer. Plus, they can help keep your skin looking young! The vitamin C in lemons helps to build up collagen, keeping skin firm and tight. Try this at-home facial with lemon juice from Dr. Mehmet Oz.

3. Spinach. Popeye’s favorite food does more than make you strong. Spinach is loaded with vitamins B and E, lutein and flavonoids that can help prevent skin cancer. The leafy green vegetable also helps to boost your body’s natural defenses, making it better equipped to repair damage done by the sun’s harmful rays. Add some to your smoothie or a delicious summer salad.

4. Turmeric. This bright yellow spice, common in Indian cuisine, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight skin cancer and treat acne and dark spots. Turmeric can also provide relief from other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema – plus a host of other health concerns, from arthritis to indigestion. Try turmeric in this healthy curry recipe.

5. Dark chocolate. Don’t feel guilty about indulging in that piece of chocolate – as long as it’s the dark kind. Dark chocolate made with 70% or more cacao (cocoa) is full of flavonoids that help the skin protect itself from damaging UV light. Those flavonoids also help reverse the collagen breakdown that leads to wrinkles. Just be careful not to eat too much!

This article originally appeared on Sharecare.com, the leading online health and wellness social platform.

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