11 Surprising Ways to Prevent Sunburn with Food

I frequently joke that I could get a sunburn in the dead of winter. Everyone always laughs, but since it’s true, I fail to find the humor in it. Blisters, peeling skin, and a fear of more than 15 minutes in the sun? No thanks. As luck would have it, I married into a family that starts getting a tan mid-March. By our first beach trip of the summer, they’re golden brown and I’m, well… pale and burnt.

I could bathe in sunscreen all day long, and while it helps, I never fail to miss a spot no matter how many times I reapply. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to keeping the sunburn at bay: a giant umbrella, loads of sunscreen including both lotion and spray, and a diet hefty in antioxidants. Yup, food. Who knew? Boosting your diet with certain foods is just one of the many ways to prevent sunburn.

  • Foods that help prevent sunburn 1 of 12
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    Before you head out to the beach this hot and toasty summer, think about adding some of these foods to your daily plate. A couple of these foods may even surprise you. Hint: they may or may not involve wine and chocolate.

  • Butter 2 of 12
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    Yup, you read that right: saturated fat. It may not help directly with sunburn, but it looks like saturated fat might help prevent skin cancer.

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Cod Liver Oil 3 of 12
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    (And other vitamin D-containing foods.) This one's a little funny: our main source of vitamin D is the sun, but vitamin D may also help protect us from the sun. In some studies it's been shown to increase the skin's tolerance to the sun, essentially making it harder to get a sunburn. It also helps prevent skin cancer. 

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Chocolate 4 of 12
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    Now your ears are perking up, huh? Chocolate that's rich in flavonoids may decrease the severity of a burn. One study showed a 15% decrease in redness from sunburn after 6 weeks of drinking flavonoid-rich cocoa, and a 25% decrease after 12 weeks.

     

    Don't worry, try one of these guilt-free chocolate recipes.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Almonds & Sunflower Seeds 5 of 12
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    The vitamin E in foods like almonds and sunflower seeds helps repair cell damage along with vitamin C. Eating these foods can help minimize sunburn if you eat them before going out in the sun.

     

    Try these cinnamon roasted almonds or fresh blueberry chicken salad with almonds.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Salmon 6 of 12
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    Omega-3 fatty acids for the win again! A specific type of omega 3 fatty acid, called eicosapentaenoic acid (or EPA), may help prevent sunburn as well as decrease DNA damage in the skin. Find EPA in salmon and cod liver oil. Omega 3s also help fight inflammation, so if you do get burnt, perhaps they will help lessen the severity.

     

    Give one of these easy baked salmon recipes a try.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Wine 7 of 12
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    Along with blueberries, hazelnuts, and sorghum, grape seeds (and the wine that's made from the grapes) contain proanthocyanidins, which just might help decrease UV radiation damage. Cheers to that!

     

    Try one of these 7 ways to eat grapes ... or go pour yourself a glass of wine.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Tomatoes 8 of 12
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    Lycopene, the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red hue, can help prevent sunburn. It's the most effective after eating it daily for 3 months. As a bonus, lycopene also helps increase the collagen in the skin, keeping it more elastic and preventing sagging. Don't like tomatoes? Watermelon is chock full of lycopene too.

     

    Mix things up with one of these 15 summer tomato recipes.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Carrots, Red Peppers, Mangos, Melons, Apricots, and Sweet Potatoes 9 of 12
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    These red, orange, and yellow foods contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may help prevent sunburn when you eat 5 servings a day for 10 weeks.

     

    Try putting mango salsa on fish tacos.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Green Tea 10 of 12
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    Help block UV rays by drinking up the good stuff -- green tea, that is. The polyphenols in green tea may help stop sunburn in its tracks, whether you drink it or put it directly on your skin.

     

    Try this watermelon green tea punch, the perfect refreshing summer drink.

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Citrus Fruit 11 of 12
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    Vitamin C, found abundantly in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, can not only help stop but also repair damage done to your cells due to UV rays. It works best when combined with vitamin E. Unlike tomatoes, which have to be eaten habitually before having the ability to protect you from sunburn, eating foods high in vitamin C before heading out in the sun can help prevent or lessen the extent of a burn.

     

    Check out these blood orange creamsicles.

     

    Photo credit: Pixabay

  • Shrimp 12 of 12
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    Shrimp eat algae which contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant that may help prevent sunburn from UVA rays.

     

    Next time you light up the grill, try one of these grilled shrimp recipes.

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

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