Facebook Pixel

Does What You Eat Protect You From The Sun? 4 Foods That Help

By HERWriter Blogger
Rate This
Does What You Eat Provide Sun Protection? 4 Foods That Help Roksolana Zasiadko/Unsplash

As the temperatures rise and people spend more and more time outside, the warnings to cover our bodies with sunscreen for protection steadily grow. Prolonged sun exposure without sunscreen can cause a multitude of problems such as premature aging, discolorations, and even skin cancer.

What if the food you ate protected your skin from the sun just like sunscreen? What if eating certain foods could act as a form of edible SPF?

It might be possible!

There are antioxidants in certain foods that help to protect your skin from the sun’s dangerous UV rays. While eating these foods should not take the place of applying topical sunscreen, they may give you a little SPF boost.

In addition, these antioxidant-rich foods may help to repair your skin and work to prevent skin from looking aged. They're also healthy for your internal organs, and benefit you nutritionally as well.

Four items that experts say may help increase your SPF to a 4 or a 5, include the following:

1) Dark Chocolate

Perhaps the tastiest way to protect your skin is by eating dark chocolate. Dark chocolate (and not any other kind of chocolate) contains flavonoids which offer protection from sunburn as well as against UV rays.

When you eat it on a regular basis, the flavonoids build up in your system, which also builds up sun protection. Go for the very dark chocolate though, as the varieties that say 80 percent dark chocolate or higher have the highest concentration of flavonoids.

2) Apples

Apples can be a less caloric way of getting flavonoids into your diet. The flavonoids in apples are called procyanidins and have been shown to reduce skin cancer. Apples also contain the antioxidant quercetin which is known to protect your DNA. And don’t forget to eat the peel!

In Red Delicious apples specifically, there are compounds that have been shown to kill or block cancer cells in the laboratory, according to a 2007 study at Cornell University.

3) Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain lycopene which is known to protect your skin from the sun. But just any old tomato won’t do. The redder the skin of the tomato the better, so choose ones from home gardens or from the farmer’s market. There is also a high concentration of lycopene found in tomato paste, so even if tomatoes are out of season, you can still get your lycopene fix.

4) Green Tea

Sun protection doesn't just come from what you eat. You can drink it too!

Drinking green tea can introduce EGCG to your body which has been shown to reduce inflammation when taken internally and may prevent the growth of cancer, Brooke Joanna Benlifer, R.D. explains, as reported by Womenshealthmag.com. Benlifer specializes in nutrition for cancer prevention.

As a bonus, green tea is good for your skin as well!

While applying a safe topical sunscreen is still the best way to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays, these four items can help give your body an extra boost of protection.

And who doesn’t want a SPF boost? Especially when it means you get to eat chocolate.


Yahoo.com. Web. 27 May 2015.

womenshealthmag.com. Web. 27 May 2015. “Eat these sun fighting super foods.”

Reviewed May 28, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Sunburn Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!