This pre-holiday post includes some very useful information about how to EAT or DRINK your sunscreen (whaaaat?) plus a healthy dessert to end any Independence Day BBQ right!
I'm sure you are well aware of the debate of which is causing cancer - the UV rays of the sun or the chemicals in our sunscreen? While there are now better choices on the market, I also like to prepare my body for sun protection from the inside as well as topically. A nice red berry smoothie with coconut milk and I'm ready to beach it!
A protective diet rich in healthy fats and antioxidants are helpful in the fight against skin cancer. In an Australian study, "the omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA not only stopped cancer cells from continuing their production cycle, it also resulted in apoptosis, which means the cancer cells died. Another study reached the same conclusion, saying “Omega 3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), can effectively reduce the risk of skin cancer."
"Our skin is so well-designed that when the solar rays hit it the antioxidants that are in the body actually move up and form a protective shield and act just like sunscreen." says Dr. Elizabeth Plourde, a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. "Unstable molecules containing oxygen that function as free radicals, which are capable of causing cellular damage. The chemicals utilized for sunscreen cannot dissipate the energy as efficiently as the body’s own built-in defense, melanin, which is the brown pigment that is made by the melanocytes in the basal layer of the skin. The use of sunscreen stops the body’s natural process of creating more melanin to naturally protect the cells."
So how to get these amazing antioxidants before we hit the beach or pool this summer?
• Wild Salmon + Veggies Such As Red Peppers/Carrots – they contain astaxanthin, a carotenoid which provides 500x more antioxidant protection than Vitamin E and 10x stronger than Vitamin A
• Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables, Onions, Garlic & Cocoa – they contain quercetin, which has been found to protect against UV radiation in mice
• Blackberries, Wild Raw Blueberries, Raw Peanuts and Red Grapes – they contain resveratrol. Researchers exposed epidermal skin cells to UVA wavelengths and found that resveratrol protects from ROS generation*, increases cell viability, and increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes
*Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created by stress, tobacco smoke, radiation or certain drugs. These ROS damage biological molecules by pulling electrons from them. This is called “oxidative stress,” and is similar to the chemical reaction that makes iron rust.
Dr. Weil confirms, "We need antioxidants because everyday metabolism – that is, the process of cells turning food and oxygen into energy – creates destructive molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS)." So add some colorful berries to this recipe below for a 4th of July treat that helps your health!
Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe
• 1 can Coconut Cream, chilled in the fridge overnight
• 1 TBSP coconut sugar or honey, optional
Combine in large bowl and whip using electric mixer with chilled beaters on medium speed. Toss in some organic berries + enjoy the sun-protecting antioxidant power!
Sources and Additional Reading: