It can be your enemy or your friend. It’s what you do about it that tips the scale in your favor… or against you… Indeed, it can make all the difference. This friend or foe, believe it or not, is the sun. Without it, life – at least as we know it – could not exist.
As it relates to your bone health and overall health, sun exposure is very important. In my blog post titled ‘Let The Sunshine In, and Have Strong and Healthy Bones’ I write about its benefits,
“Studies have shown that sunlight is an excellent natural source of Vitamin D3, the best form of Vitamin D, also known as Cholecalciferol.”
As you may already know, vitamin D performs a myriad of crucial bone-building tasks since it’s involved in bone remodeling and the regulation of blood calcium levels – to name a few. But it’s also important to note that too much sun exposure triggers the formation of harmful free radicals that can damage your skin.
There are several ways to protect your skin from sunburn. Unfortunately some of the choices can hurt your bones and even your general health. One option – not a good one – is to stay out of the sun as much as possible, opening the door to a Vitamin D deficiency. Another less than ideal option is to slather on acidifying and toxic sunscreen.
Burn-Protective and Bone-Building
But what if I told that you can literally ‘eat’ your sunscreen plus help your bones become stronger all at the same time? If you think that this sounds too good to be true, read on.
You see, plants use color as their own built-in protective sunscreen. And the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidant protection they offer.
In this article I reveal some of the top foods that contain richly-hued free radical neutralizers that help protect your skin from sun damage and nourish your bones.
So pull out your grocery shopping list and get ready to add these delicious double-duty foods to your menu.
Now let’s get started…
In the Osteoporosis Reversal Program I include breakthrough research on the bone-building properties of the potent antioxidant lycopene. 1, 2 This carotenoid is what gives certain veggies and fruits their red or pink color. Tomatoes, watermelon, guava,and pink grapefruit – all alkalizing – are good sources of lycopene. Cooked tomato paste has been documented to contain the highest levels of this multi-tasking antioxidant.3
Yet another recent breakthrough study shows that eating tomato paste is an effective sunscreen. For 12 weeks, study subjects incorporated tomato paste mixed with olive oil in their diet. As the study published in the British Journal of Dermatology concludes,
“Tomato paste containing lycopene provides protection against acute and potentially longer-term aspects of photodamage.”4 Tomatoes are also an outstanding source of vitamin C, a Foundation Supplement.
This deliciously alkalizing and decorative herb is a rich source of deep green flavonoids, a member of the bone-healthy polyphenol family. As I reveal in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, these free radical scavengers help increase the production of osteoblasts, cells that build your bones.5
Additionally, parsley – both dried and fresh – is an excellent source of two Foundation Supplements: vitamin K and vitamin C. And when it comes to an “edible” sunscreen, parsley is a concentrated source of vitamin A, which nourishes your skin, and – along with the antioxidant effect of the polyphenols – naturally helps prevent skin damage and excessive burning from sun exposure.6 Other excellent sources of polyphenols are apples, pears, grapes, and berries.
3. Dark Chocolate
I left the best for last… As incredible as it may sound, decadent dark chocolate is an excellent source of bone-healthy polyphenols, even though it is acidifying. And studies actually confirm that it not only protects your skin from the sun, it also beautifies it. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study authors write that,
“Dietary flavanols from cocoa contribute to endogenous photoprotection, improve dermal blood circulation, and affect cosmetically relevant skin surface and hydration variables.”7
I recommend you buy the organic unsweetened kind.
To your health!
1 Rao, Kim, et al. “Lycopene II- Effect on osteoblasts: the carotenoid lycopene stimulates cell proliferation and Alkaline Phosphatase Activity of SaOS-2 cells.” Journal of Medicinal Food. 2003.
2 Farzad Deyhim et al. “Grapefruit pulp increases antioxidant status and improves bone quality in orchidectomized rats.” Nutrition, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 1039 – 1044. 2008.
3 Periago, M J et al. “Detection of Key Factors in the Extraction and Quantification of Lycopene from Tomato and Tomato Products.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55 (22), pp 8825–8829. 2007.
4 Rizwan M, et al. “Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial.” British Journal of Dermatology , Vol. 164:1, pp 154-162. 2011.
5 Trzeciakiewicz A et al. “When nutrition interacts with osteoblast function: molecular mechanisms of polyphenols.” Nutrition Research Reviews, 22, 68–81. 2009.
6 Antille C et al. “Vitamin A Exerts a Photoprotective Action in Skin by Absorbing Ultraviolet B Radiation”. Journal of Investigative Dermatology.121, 1163–1167. 2003.)
7 Heinrich U et al. “Long-term ingestion of high flavonol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women.” Journal of Nutrition,136(6):1565-9. 2006.