10 Foods That Can Help Prevent Sun-Damaged Skin

We all know that the use of sunscreen and protective clothing are an important part of keeping skin safe from the sun's damaging rays, but what about diet? The truth is that the foods we eat have a significant impact on our bodies' ability to stay healthy. Studies suggest that eating foods rich in carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and polyphenols can provide protection against the harmful effects of UV rays. Make sure you're eating enough of the right foods year-round — especially during the summer, when we tend to expose more of our skin to the sun's rays. 

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Eating foods that are high in certain nutrients and antioxidants should never replace a regular skincare routine — rather, it should supplement to the use of sunscreen, sunblock, protective clothing, and common sense. Dr. Elizabeth Hale, clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine and Coppertone consultant, offers the following advice for keeping skin safe:

"I can't stress enough that SPF is an everyday essential. Protecting your skin from the sun is a key component for leading a healthy life. UVA rays reach the earth's surface 365 days a year and they can penetrate through clouds as well as car or office windows. That being said, make sure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen each day, and when you're spending time in the sun, use a secondary form of protection like sunglasses, a hat, and UV-protective clothing."

She also reminds us that "much of the sun damage we accumulate throughout a lifetime comes from incidental sun exposure, like eating lunch outdoors with friends or walking to work. Because of this, sunscreen should be incorporated into daily skincare routines." Hale advises everyone to use a quarter-sized dollop of broad-spectrum sunscreen to cover your face, neck, and upper chest every day. (If you're concerned about finding a product that is lightweight and non-greasy, she recommends Coppertone's CLEARLYSheer for Sunny Days Faces).

Then, protect yourself further by eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables (which Hale says "help boost the skin's natural defenses") along with other healthy foods rich in vitamins and key nutrients. Here are 10 healthy foods that you should work into you cooking and snacking routines to help protect your skin this summer.


A great source of vitamin E, are packed with sun-fighting antioxidants. Try sprinkling them on salads or chopping them up for an easy ice cream topping, or using almond butter to make a sweet and spicy dipping sauce for grilled chicken skewers.

Asparagusasparagus @KColladoCook

Who knew was a good source of vitamin E, too? Grill up bright green stalks at your next cookout for a delicious way to keep your skin healthy.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter .