Spa Wellness: Defensive Diet

Combat UV rays internally with these sun-blocking foods.

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In an effort to help our elder population think beyond sunscreen, the American Association for Retired Persons has compiled a list of foods capable of bolstering the skin’s ability to defend itself against sun-related burns, wrinkles and cancer. But the information doesn’t only pertain to older folks. Consider sharing the following list with all of your skincare clients:

• Tomatoes contain the UV-protecting compound lycopene.

• Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene to ameliorate sunburn damage.

• Flaxseed boasts omega-3 fatty acids, which attract water to skin cells to “plump” skin.

• Green tea delivers EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a substance proven to counteract inflammation.

• Black tea contains quercetin, a compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

• Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are rich in folic acid and antioxidants to boost skin’s natural defenses.

• Pomegranate is an especially potent, antioxidant-packed fruit.

• Almonds provide quercetin, plus vitamin E to ward off burns.

• Beer contains the hormone melatonin, a powerful antioxidant.

• Dark chocolate (70% cacao or greater) improves skin density, hydration and blood flow via its natural antioxidant properties.