10 Superfoods That Help Protect Your Skin From The Sun

It’s easy to forget how important it is to protect ourselves from the damaging rays of the sun. Whether you choose to wear sunscreen, sunblock, or use clothing and hats to protect your skin, we all know that sun protection is a key element to staying healthy. But did you know there are healthy foods that can boost your skin’s natural SPF? 

That’s right, certain foods help bolster our skin to fight against the damaging rays of the sun. It’s like eating your sunscreen! Except, please, don’t actually down your bottle of SPF 50 (yuck)! Make sure to get your fill of these superfoods to help up your protection during the summer:

Citrus Fruits

A University of Arizona study recently found that one of the compounds in citrus fruits—limonene—resulted in a more than 30% reduction in the risk of skin cancer in a survey of healthy of adults.


We learned that tomatoes are packed with the heart-healthy antioxidant lycopene, but did you know that lycopene is also good for your skin?

Carrots and Bell Peppers

Beta-carotene, another antioxidant found in most red and orange fruits and veggies is another compound that helps protect your skin from UV damage. Carrots and bell peppers are great options—diets rich in these have been shown in studies to actually help reduce the severity of a sunburn.

Green Tea

A steaming cup of green tea might seem like the last thing you want on a hot summer day, but it’s worth cranking up the A/C and sipping on it anyway. Green tea is packed with antioxidants that have been shown to stop skin cell damage in people with non-melanoma cancer. A study has also shown a significant decrease in the incidence of all skin cancers in people who drink at least one cup of green tea a day.

Dark, Leafy Greens

It seems like DLGs (dark, leafy greens) like spinach, kale, chard, and lettuce are the healthy eating cure-all for most ailments, and skin damage is no exception! DLGs are packed with the antioxidant lutein—which has been shown to halt the cell growth of tumors that are activated by UV rays. One study even found that a diet rich in DLGs helped stop the recurrence of skin cancer in those people who had previously been treated.



We have a reason not to shy away from high-calorie nuts like walnuts—they help protect your skin! The fatty acids found in walnuts have been show to help protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun.


Fire up the grill and throw on a salmon fillet, because many experts agree that fatty fish like salmon is one the healthiest things you can eat for your entire your body—including your skin protection.


Dark Chocolate

So, maybe eating a diet rich in DLGs and salmon isn’t all that fun, but what about a diet rich in chocolate? Now that’s better! The flavonoids in dark chocolate have been shown to protect from skin damage—including reducing the risk of sunburn. Just make sure to get high-quality, dark chocolate.


Ever noticed how a lot of skin care products are pomegranate scented or include pomegranate extracts? That’s because pomegranates have been shown to help strengthen skin and protect it from the damaging effects of the sun.


There are a lot of magic potions out there on the market, but none of them beat the healthy benefits of drinking plain ole water—and this applies to the skin, too. Being properly hydrated inside helps keep your skin hydrated on the outside, and a hydrated skin is a healthy skin that can fight against the damage of the sun. Bonus: hydrated skin is less likely to wrinkle!


How do you protect yourself from the sun?

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!