Edible Sunscreen You Need to Know About

I have one of those love hate relationships with the sun: love being outdoors for play and exercise and adore a tanned hue but hate those damn fine (and sometimes not so fine) lines and knowing what much bigger damage I may be doing by soaking up my vitamin D.


If you’ve been looking forward to some time in the sun like me, you’re going to need more than a double digit SPF to protect your glow.


You need food. Yes, your favorite sport, eating, can come in handy to protect and repair your skin, and yes, it is basically edible sunscreen.


Phytonutrients and micronutrients, found in some of your favorite, delicious, colorful, satisfying foods, support the work of your Coppertone by protecting your skin cells from UV damage and repairing fragile cells with nutrients.


Research reveals that certain plant chemicals serve and protect your skin from damage and cancer similar to how omega-3’s protect your heart from disease.


But it’s all about quality here, friends. Sorry, cheese fries don’t offer the nutrition your body needs — you can toss ‘em out with those old school sun reflectors that get the thumbs down too.


The complicated words I’m about to tell you about are nutrients that chemically protect delicate skin cells from torching UV rays by strengthening them and making them harder to damage.


You can think of these nutrients as a little army defending the destruction of the temple of your healthy skin cells. They also act like the Red Cross and speed recovery to damaged cells when you were expecting rain and the day was bright and sunny.

One of the best things about living a truly Nutritious Life is all the cumulative benefits. Huh? Stick with me here.  When you eat healthy, exercise, manage stress etc. consistently (notice I didn’t say perfectly or always!) you reap all sorts of benefits. When eating healthy is your norm, that conscious indulgence of a S’more at the fire pit won’t set you back.  Your strength doesn’t disappear because you miss you a few kettle bell workouts.  And, guess what all those antioxidants that you’ve been eating, protect you from… You guessed it… the sun!

4 of the best edible sunscreens to protect your skin:


  • Carotenoids (carrots, peppers, kale)
  • Sulforaphane (brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards)
  • Alkaloids (potatoes, eggplant, peppers),  and
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, flax meal, hemp, olive oil)


Chow down on these edible sunscreen eats under your umbrella, slathered in SPF, and you’ll be finer than any fine line. The ingredients for these recipes for fabulous skin and sun protection may already be in your home.

Pack them up alongside that trashy novel you’re bringing to the beach. Your skin will be grateful.


Foods with carotenoids

IMG_5461-xCarrot Kale Salad

Carotenoids are pigments found in orange and dark green foods like kale and carrots. They protect the skin from sun damage by decreasing sensitivity to UV light and are best absorbed with fat, so don’t even consider ditching the olive oil in this recipe.


Foods with sulforaphane

Shittake sauteSauteed Shiitake, Ginger and Watercress

A compound found in cruciferous vegetables and watercress, sulforaphane contains anticancer properties which protect skin from sun damage by upping the production of protective enzymes.  These enzymes help the body fight against skin damage from sun exposure.


Foods with alkaloids

iced almond matcha latteIced Almond Matcha Latte

This recipe is full of alkaloids, which are found in caffeine and have been shown to eliminate UV-damaged skin cells and reduce skin roughness. Studies show that the caffeine in your daily coffee or tea helps prevents the formation of skin cancer. Green tea also contains polyphenols, antioxidants shown to prevent cancer cell growth due to UV light damage.


About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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