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Foods to Repair the Visible Signs of Sun Damage

It’s definitely not news that chronic overexposure to sunlight is one of the greatest factors contributing to the visible signs of skin aging, especially given that one of the most destructive aspects of sunlight are the ultraviolet (UV) rays. These invisible forms of radiation can penetrate and alter the structure of skin cells over time, leading to sun-induced skin aging that can be seen in the loss of skin elasticity, thinner, more translucent-looking skin, wrinkles, broken capillaries on the face, freckles, sunspots, and more. But cheer up, because there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. The good news is that you can prevent and even help repair sun damage by changing your diet. That’s right—choosing the right foods can have a major impact on the visible signs of sun exposure.

Carotenoids for Cellular Repair

The carotenoid family of antioxidants—the fat-soluble pigments that give the red-orange-yellow color to fruits and vegetables—offers special, targeted properties for cellular growth and repair. Carotenoids can neutralize the sunlight-induced free radicals, which ultimately damage the cell and are the primary force behind the invisible inflammation that accelerates the internal aging process and manifests externally in the form of wrinkles. If a diet rich in plant foods doesn’t sound overly appealing to you, fear not—carotenoids can also be found in other food sources. Often referred to as “red gold from the sea,” astaxanthin is a type of carotenoid found in wild salmon and other pink or red-hued seafood; it’s also 10 times more potent than beta-carotene and 100 times stronger than vitamin E. Studies have shown that when taken as a dietary supplement, astaxanthin can offer serious protection against photoaging and support a more even skin tone. But even more than that, it can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin’s elasticity. Both astaxanthin and Omega-3s offer cumulative benefits that can aid in providing internal protection against the sun’s damaging rays. Not only that, but they may also help increase skin’s smoothness, suppleness and radiance. Consume these in both their dietary and supplement forms for optimum health and beauty benefits.

Which Foods Should You Go For?

When it comes to seafood, rainbow trout, shrimp, crab, red caviar, crawfish, lobster and wild Alaskan salmon are all great choices. For vegetables, kale, pumpkin seeds, spinach, collards, turnip greens, beet greens, cabbage and winter squash are all considered to be carotenoid-rich. While we’ve talked at length about the beauty benefits of a carotenoid-rich diet, it’s also worth mentioning their compelling health benefits. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of carotenoids may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Meanwhile, the lutein and zeaxanthin abundant in spinach, kale and collard greens can exert protective antioxidant effects in the retina. Food that delivers benefits for both beauty and health? We’re sold.