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Did you know that sunscreen only eliminates 55% of free-radical damage induced by UV rays? That still leaves 45% of potential free-radical damage to our skin. Sunscreen shouldn’t be your only source of sun protection. To get the most out of your sunscreen and prevent skin damage there must be a holistic approach to sun protection. Eating the right foods, stress management along with sufficient SPF is key.

This post will go over what we can eat to help our bodies from the inside out. These foods act as an internal sunscreen; broccoli, watermelon, pineapple, raspberries, bright bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach and other dark green veggies. The antioxidants found in green tea and coffee also included.

Broccoli juice contains sulforaphane, an antioxidant which helps stop sunburn and tumor development. Scientists have been testing the broccoli extract on human volunteers and mice. You can read about the study at http://tinyurl.com/2bnrvw5.

The fruits of the summer like watermelon, pineapple, raspberries, and bright bell peppers are all rich in antioxidants, which are protective molecules that help fight off free-radical damage. A study in the Journal of Nutrition show that a mix of cartenoids found in tomatoes and watermelon, lutien from spinach and dark green vegetables and beta-carotene found in orange, red and yellow produce  helps to reduce the skins susceptibility to uv damage.

All antioxidants protect cells in different ways. Hasan Mukhatar, PH. D., Director and Vice-Chair for research in the Department of Dermatology at the University explained to the August 2010 issue of Whole Living the different ways antioxidants protect cells. “Some work by neutralizing free-radicals before they penetrate the skin and cause inflammation. Other’s throw a bucket of water on inflammation and could even repair DNA damage.” Some antioxidants, like the ones found in green tea, can do all three!