Soakin’ Up Vitamin D

sun

No makeup. Coffee in hand. It’s your 1-minute nutrition Sermon on the Couch.

God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night. Genesis 1:16

MY FAVORITE FOODS FOR SUN PROTECTION

1. COCONUT OIL: Some people tout coconut oil as a good external sunblock. While it is a wonderful moisturizer for the skin and does have an SPF 4, I wouldn’t rely on it as my only protection. It can be effectively used as part of a non-chemical homemade sunscreen such as this one, and might be used on it’s own in a pinch, but I wouldn’t slather it on and go boating for the day. However, coconut oil is a wonderful food to help keep your skin healthy from the inside out. When consumed regularly, it deposits healthy fat under the skin – keeping it plump, healthy, and better protected. In this study, mice were better protected from melanoma by ingesting saturated fat (like coconut oil) over polyunsaturated fat (like vegetable oils).

2. WILD CAUGHT SALMON: Salmon is one of the best foods to get healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are critical for cooling the jets of inflammation. When we are less inflamed on the inside, the less susceptible we are to inflammation from the outside…like sunburn. It’s also important to reduce the amount of inflammatory Omega-6s in our diet, namely oils like canola, soybean, cottonseed, vegetable, and corn (which are all fragile polyunsaturated fats…see last sentence in previous paragraph). This study found that a weekly consumption of fish rich in Omega-3s contributed to protection against cutaneous melanoma.

3. MATCHA GREEN TEA: Confession. I’ve been cheating on my butter coffee. I’ve been incorporating matcha green tea into my morning routine. Sure, it tastes a little like grass, but it’s got such incredible health properties that it’s nothing a little coconut milk and stevia can’t fix. It’s FULL of polyphenols – especially EGCG (a powerhouse antioxidant) – that help protect against cancer, reduce inflammation, and prevent DNA damage. This study shows how green tea polyphenols can inhibit the development of UVB skin tumors and this study shows the protective sun measures of drinking one cup of tea a day. I love this brand of Matcha powder which can be made into tea or easily scooped into a smoothie.

4. LEAFY GREENS: Again, the name of the game is anti-inflammation. Green leafies are packed full of sun-protecting goodness. The polyphenols and carotenoids have been shown to protect the skin from sun damage (see here). This study found a high consumption of vegetables can help protect against skin cancer. You just can’t go wrong with salads, green smoothies, and pesto in your life.

5. FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL/BUTTER OIL BLEND: Ok, so this is a supplement, but it’s one of my faves that I often recommend to clients.  It’s got a healthy blend of the important (aforementioned) Omega fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins like A and D. Our best source of Vitamin D is from the sun and making sure we have enough in the blood is sun-protective. This little capsule gives a daily boost of Vitamin D and Omega-3s. It’s a double win.

That’s my top 5! There are several other helpful sun-protective foods like tomato paste (2 tablespoons a day) and the astaxanthin supplement, but the above are the ones I find it easiest to incorporate into my daily life. Pick your faves and get out there and enjoy God’s sunshine!

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