Your Shopping List

View Shopping List

Eat Your Sunscreen?!

Are you embracing the blistering hot summer weather that arrived with a bang in many parts of the country the past couple of weeks?


Or are you already over it and looking forward to fall?


Since summer only officially started last Tuesday, brace yourself, there is plenty of summer left!

Many people have a "love-hate" relationship with summer.  They love the warmer weather, the get-togethers, the vacations and the opportunities to spend time with the kids and grandkids.  And, of course, who doesn't love all that fresh summer produce from your garden or the local farmers' market?!

On the other hand, we can feel sluggish when the temperatures soar, often caused by dehydration.  And, let's face it, the sun can be brutal and lathering up in sunscreen is not the most pleasant thing in the world.


Believe it or not, what you eat can actually help your body stay hydrated, and can even help prevent nasty sunburns!

In our coaching tip, "Do This to Stay Healthy All Summer Long," we talked about how certain foods are especially good a keeping you hydrated.

Some of the best hydrating foods include cucumbers, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, peaches, cantaloupe, radishes and eggplant.  Many of these foods also contain electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium that aren't found in plain water.  The Summer Explosion Salad is just one example of an excellent flavor-loaded way to keep yourself hydrated!

Ironically, these are also the foods that are in-season during the summer?  Apparently nature knew what it was doing!

Of course, drinking plenty of water is essential during the summer.  Water, when combined with eating an abundance of these hydrating foods, will help you regulate your body temperature, keep your blood circulating and your brain fully functioning, and help you avoid the sluggishness and headaches that you can experience when you get dehydrated.


Can foods really prevent sunburn?

Yes, there is evidence that the right foods (REAL foods) can do just that!  Now, please don't go throw away your sunscreen.  A good sunscreen is absolutely critical to help prevent sunburns and skin cancer, especially when you will have prolonged exposure to the sun.  And, covering up and getting out of the sun periodically are also useful strategies.


How exactly do foods affect how easily you burn?

Think of a sunburn as a type of inflammation in your body.  You may remember from our prior coaching tips that too many "free radicals" running around in your body are a major cause of inflammationFree radicals are kind of like when a teenager invites a couple friends over while his or her parents are out of town.  A couple friends is no problem, but then more “friends” start showing up and the party can quickly turn destructive!  

Without getting too scientific, free radicals are produced by your body to aid in digestion and convert food into energy.  They are a friend to your body’s natural functions…up to a point. When there are too many free radicals, they turn destructive and damage healthy cells inside your body.  This destruction contributes to dreaded diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as conditions like cataracts, asthma, bronchitis...and sunburns!

There are a variety of contributors to excess free radicals, including consuming foods that are fried, highly processed or contain preservatives and additives.  For example, when you eat fried foods, the oils they are cooked in can oxidize at high temperatures, creating destructive free radicals in your body.  This is just one reason why limiting or avoiding these foods is so important.

One way to contain and neutralize excess free radicals is to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods.  When it comes to sunburns, there are certain antioxidants and other nutrients to seem to be especially good at helping prevent the damage these free radicals would otherwise cause.  These include Omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and Vitamin E.


Some foods that are particularly blessed with these nutrients include:



In case you are interested, here is a link to a 5-minute video where Dr. Michael Greger, the author of How Not to Die and a founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, talks about "Preventing Cancer from the Inside Out."

Remember that some exposure to the sun is a good thing to help us get sufficient levels of Vitamin D.  Getting enough of this sunshine vitamin can help reduce cancer risk and provides many other health benefits.

This summer, enjoy these foods in abundance, and remember, you can eat your sunscreen rather than just wear it!


And, the best part?

This protection won't wash off in the pool!


Leave A Comment

One Response to Eat Your Sunscreen?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *