The Best Foods to Protect Skin from Sun Damage

A few minutes of sun every day is important to get our dose of vitamin D (read more about benefits of vitamin D), but extreme exposure to the sun can activate free radicals in the skin and cause faster aging and skin cancer. Apart from wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, it is also important to consume the right foods to gain an extra dose of UV radiation protection. Certain key nutrients from these foods can actually boost your skin’s natural sun protection and protect your skin from sun damage.

Here are some foods that may protect your skin from the sun’s rays:

Green tea

Green tea is packed with a powerful antioxidant called Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate or EGCG, that reduces inflammation in the skin. EGCG fights free radicals, decreases inflammation from the inside out, and helps prevent skin cancer. Moreover, green tea is also high in polyphenols that protect against UV radiation.


Tomatoes are loaded with an antioxidant called lycopene, which provides long-term protection against UV radiation induced effects. Lycopene neutralizes the free radicals produced from too much sun, and reduces any inflammation due to UV damage. Lycopene is more easily absorbed by the body when the tomatoes have been cooked, such as in tomato paste, juice, soups, and ketchup. Watermelon is also high in lycopene and contains 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes.


Carrots are the best source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that helps protect the skin against free radical damage from sun exposure. They provide increased protection against sunburn, particularly when combined with vitamin E. They are also rich in vitamin C and other nutrients.


Pomegranates offer excellent sun protection, with several antioxidants, which defend against sun damage, skin cancer, photo-ageing, and can even relieve sunburn. The powerful antioxidant ellagic acid, protects against cell damage from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Antioxidant anthocycanins in pomegranates protect the skin from environmental stress and damage, and promote healing.


Strawberries contain a great combination of antioxidants and vitamin C, that help protect your skin from sun damage. They also help in healing sunburned skin. The vitamin C present in strawberries helps kill off free radicals that are produced when your skin gets too much sun. Moreover, strawberries also contain tannins that help reduce pain from a sunburn.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, that protect your skin from sunburn, reduce additional inflammation if sunburn occurs, and also fight against skin cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, flaxseed oil can protect your skin from UV rays and keeps your skin moisturized so it won’t dry out.


Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which protects the skin from sunlight. Vitamin E neutralizes the free radicals that cause inflammation and damage. One of the best-known anti-ageing vitamins, it helps slow down the formation of wrinkles and reduces scars. Almonds also contain quercetin, which has been shown to protect against UV damage.

Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness!