By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Monday, July 5, 2021


Add sun-protective foods to your plate

Summer – where picnics are a-plenty and you won’t find an empty pool in sight. Ah, this sweet, sunshiny season is in full swing. Is your pale, winter skin ready?

While lathering on a broad-spectrum sunscreen and scoring shade at the ballpark can keep burns at bay, adding sun-protective foods to our plates can be another solid way to protect our largest organ.

RELATED: Protect your skin and eyes this summer

Many foods pack a potent UV-protecting punch, therefore, read up and include more of these to keep the blistered skin and snake-like shedding to a minimum this season:

Red Bell Peppers: Swap out the salty chips for a more refreshing crunch, like red bell peppers. This vibrant veggie is a stellar source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which is known to protect against sunburn. Add these peppers to a stir-fry or dunk them into one of the many delicious flavors of hummus.

Tomatoes: Like you really needed another reason to order the Caprese salad this summer. Thanks to the antioxidant, lycopene, tomatoes and other reddish-colored fruits, such as watermelon and grapefruit, act as a natural sunscreen, as well as replenishes skin cells. Did someone say wrinkle prevention?

RELATED: Eat 5 fruits and veggies every day!

Avocado: Jazz up your meals with the creamy, dreamy star veggie. By including avocado (sliced, diced, or yes, in guacamole form) you will reap the skin protecting vitamin E that lives in its bright flesh. An added bonus? It keeps the skin hydrated leaving you with a more youthful glow.

Kiwi: This fuzzy fruit could potentially be your new go-to poolside snack. Kiwi packs in an ample amount of vitamin C, which is needed to produce collagen – think tight, healthier skin. It’s only fair to keep skin plump, healthy, and beautiful during tank-top time.

RECIPE: Watermelon Strawberry Pops

Carrots: Think of this pick as a triple threat against UV damage – beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin C. These three potent nutrients have been shown to defend against the dangerous effects of sun exposure, including skin cancer and premature aging. When you need a quick munch, a handful of carrots can provide that skin-safe crunch.

Pack the sunscreen, shades, hat, and cover-up, but don’t forget the right types of food, too. 'Tis the season to feed your skin right and enjoy the long, warm days of sunlight.

paigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.