Try drinking this sun protection smoothie before spending time out in the sun. It is full of antioxidants, healthy fats, omega 3s, and other important nutrients your skin needs to protect itself from sun damage.
By Sarah Nichols, Contributing Writer
Summer is right around the corner. Many people look forward to lazy summer days at the beach or the lake, soaking up the sun’s rays.
But with skin cancer rates soaring, skin protection is one of our top concerns.
If you are naturally-minded, you may be concerned about some of the ingredients in conventional sun-screen products sold at the store. You may even make your own sunscreen with non-toxic ingredients and buy special clothes that offer SPF protection.
But did you know that our diet can also help protect our body from sun damage?
It’s true! The standard American diet does not offer much in the way of skin protection.
- The high amount of refined sugars damage the collagen in our skin and that damage is accelerated in the presence of UV light. (source)
- The Standard American diet is usually high in Omega 6 fatty acids and low in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are needed to protect the skin from sun damage.
- Processed foods are often void of antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, and other important vitamins and minerals that our body needs to protect itself from sun damage.
However, eating real, whole foods that have not been processed can help protect your body from becoming sun damaged. That’s why I created this Sun Protection Smoothie. I feed it to my family when I know we are going to be out in the sun for a long time.
It’s full of ingredients to fight free-radicals and support the body’s natural defense against sun damage!
But please note, this is not a quick fix if you eat a mainly processed food diet. Many studies have shown that the best dietary skin protection has to be built up in your body over time.
The Key Ingredients:
- Spinach – A good source of lutein and beta carotene. Lutein has been shown to “accumulate in the skin and offer a measurable photo-protective benefit” while beta carotene can help protect the skin from sun burn. (source, source)
- Yogurt – Yogurt that is made from grass-fed cows is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s can help fight inflammation and have even been shown to help prevent certain types of skin cancer. (source)
- Cocoa Powder – Yes, chocolate! It’s high in polyphenols which help protect your skin from free radical exposure.
- Strawberries – A good source of vitamin C. “Vitamin C aids in your body’s production of collagen, which is the protein that forms the basic structure of your skin.” (source)
- Almond Butter – Rich in vitamin E, almond butter can reduce oxidative stress and help prevent sun damage.
- Cinnamon – A powerful antioxidant that happens to taste delicious too.
- Maple Syrup – For just a hint of sweetness!
If you really want to get serious about sun protection, you could also purchase supplemental astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is an excellent antioxidant for helping your body in it’s natural defense against sun damage.
From Erin: I get almost all of my superfood ingredients and supplements at Vitacost.com. You can get a $5 off your first order here.
Sun Protection Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- 1 cup grass-fed, whole milk yogurt
- 3 TB almond butter
- 3 TB cocoa powder
- 6-8 frozen strawberries
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 TB maple syrup (or sweetener of choice: raw honey, dates, etc.)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. If you prefer a thicker smoothie, you can add more ice or a banana.
By Sarah Nichols
I need to starting making these smoothies! Perfect time since the sun decided to stay out longer in the Pacific Northwest. 🙂
We wait for late afternoon to go in the pool or playing outside. Where we live, summer temperatures can be in the 90’s and low 100’s for weeks. The pool sure feels good at those temperatures!
Late afternoon, the sun has more atmosphere to block those dangerous rays. It will also be going down behind the house or fence. If we need a sun block, we use a zinc oxide based sunscreen. I have been wanting to make my own for a long time to get away from the petroleum based zinc oxide. Long sleeves and sun hats help too! Sometimes putting the shade over the pool can work too.
We have some very white people in my family. I’m the one with the Mediterranean skin. I rarely burn.
With all my babies, I didn’t wear sunscreen, because babies mouth on mama… I didn’t want them eating the sunscreen off of my arms or face. Boy! I miss those days! My baby is 13!
I make the swim suits/rash guards for my family to limit exposure more for the white ones.
It’s late. I’m rambling… Sorry…