May is Skin Cancer Awareness month. As part of your prevention plan, consider how your diet may play a role in reducing your risk and keeping your skin generally healthy.
Vitamins C and E both play critical roles in skin health. They both protect against oxidative damage to the skin. Vitamin C is also essential for synthesizing collagen, one of the main components of our skin. While many foods provide us with these vitamins, having them together provides an added benefit. Avocado is an example of a food that contains both vitamins, along with some healthy fats as well. Almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E. Each day choose an orange, kiwi, or broccoli, or all three!, to help meet your Vitamin C needs.
Omega 3 fats help skin maintain its thickness and may provide a degree of sun protection as well. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are excellent sources of omega 3 fats. If you are looking for a plant source, walnuts, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds are all good sources.
Beta-carotene, the antioxidant that gives carrots their generally orange hue, acts as a natural sun block to the skin. Besides carrots, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene. Just remember they don’t replace sunblock, just add to yoru skins natural defenses.
Enjoy a variety and abundance of different plant foods, from nuts and seeds to fruits and vegetables to keep your skin healthy. Don’t forget the sunblock and hat either!
Try this sweet potato recipe to build up your skins defenses before summer!
- 1 baked sweet potato
- ½ an avocado
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon salsa
- Any store bought will work. I like a spicy pico de gallo so there is plenty of tomato and heat!
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Mix together avocado, yogurt and salsa. Cut open top of sweet potato and stuff with guacamole. Sprinkle with chia seeds.