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.
Comments on this article are closed.
Have you heard of the Halleluiah Acres Diet for cancer? I was already fighting osteoporosis when I discovered that I had breast cancer. I attended and practiced the hacres lifestyle and went thru three surgeries. Thru the grace of God I have survived. I have been vascillating between the hacres and save our bones diet and would like to know what your understanding is regarding the avoidance of animal products as they base their stand on T. Colin Campbell’s book “The China Study.” It is very hard to stay satisfied on a totally vegan diet. Thank you.
Thanks once more for very valuable information concerning our bone health.
I noticed parsley is on the list. Parsley and carrots are in the same family. Can carrots also protect you against sunlight?
What are your thoughts on not eating tomatoes because they are a nightshade vegetable. I find that not eating tomatoes and eggplant (both of which I love) greatly reduces the stiffening from arthritis.
It’s true that nightshades can have an impact on inflammation, but in terms of bone health, there’s no problem with them. As with all other foods, if you have a problem with tomatoes or eggplant, you can be successful on the program without eating them. Tomatoes are just one beneficial food among many! 🙂
Thank you for your e-mail.
I do eat tomatoes & pasley always, but not
chocolate or dark chocolate
I have not been on the computer for several months but I did see this information in a cook book. What surprised me the most after seeing this information is that I just got off the internet trying to find some superfoods that are high in calcium. After spending a few minutes on there I came up with raw cacao and maca root. Then I went to your information and saw dark chocolate. I pray that you will consider and pray about starting an online store that sells quality food and other items that will benefit our bones. Than I will not have to search different websites for quality bone health items. Thanks, Gloria
Probably should clarify that by canning I mean in reusable jars in a pressure cooker. This time of the year in rural Alaska many of us “can” all sorts of wild food from salmon, and sea asparagus to many kinds of berries. It becomes second nature and is immensely satisfying once you get the hang of it.
I’ve been making salsa from scratch and canning it for the past few summers. Includes fresh tomatoes and lots of parsley. I give a lot away summers and in winter.
the best nutrition is a green leafy vegetable,
i put KALE in my JACK LA-LANE power juicer and drink the juice for breakfast,
do your research on the internet for the best nutrition.
Ooh I love dark chocolate
What vitamins do you use?
This Was A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE! LOVED IT!
And I LOVE ALL THREE THING ON THE LIST. TOMATOES, PARSLEY, AND DARK CHOCOLATE! THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING THIS WITH US!
LOVE, MS. LESLIE
Thank you, as always, for your valuable information. I am also interested in carob as we have used it for many years. Thank you again!
Thank you, Vivian for this useful information about edible sun-screen.
Thanks Viv! 🙂
Hi Vivian, Thank you for all your valuable information! Do you know if carob has the same benefits as dark cacoa? I can’t handle the caffeine or added sugars in dark chocolate products and would like to find a healthy alternative!
Thanks for all the good advice. I enjoy reading your blog and learn so much from it. I will be eating tomatoes and parsley more often from now on, and especially dark chocolate which I love. Now I don’t have to feel guilty.
I am still having the same argument with my doctor. The last one was that if I wouldn’t take actonel once a week or once a month would I consider an injection once a year.I of course said no way and she asked me if I thought that the Osteoporosis society and the doctors were all stupid and I told her I wasn’t going there.
I would like to change doctors but that is not possible in Ont. Can.
Thanks for being a sounding board for me to express my frustrations. I’m glad I found your web-site and have told many of my friends about it.
Thank you so much for the wonderful reports about
bone healthy. I am Japanese and small(4.11 and 92Lb). so I am very careful about my bone health.
I really enjoy reading your reports and learned so much. Thank you again and have a happy, health day.
Thank you Vivian. I’m always glad to get more information. I eat tomatoes, I have dark chocolate only about twice a month because I’m a diabetic. I do eat parsley in a salad and use it for “decor” on sandwish plates but I can’t say I’m crazy about it but suddenly as I get your information it becomes a little more interesting. Happy Summer days Vivian!!!!!!!!!
I’m sure that you can eat raw chocolate as a diabetic, as it has no added sugar! And, it is also delicious.
How do you eat raw chocolate?
Thanks Vivian, great information as always!
Is tomato SAUCE as beneficial as tomato PASTE? (as in canned sauce or spaghetti sauce?) Love your book and these blogs are great. So nice of you to stick with us, Vivian!
That’s excellent news about tomato paste. I love it. Is it possible to get it not in a can? Recent info states that they actually line cans containing food with a carcinogenic chemical to prolong shelf life.
Here in Perth Western Australia we have a selection of tomato pastes in jars (needs to be refrigerated once opened) and my two favourites are from Italy, namely, Russo and BioNature Organic Concentrated Tomatos Paste.
I’m definitely with you avoiding anything in cans!
n you tell me if I should stop using Splenda in my coffee?
Yes. Use Stevia or honey. That’s what SOB recommends.
Please will you tell me if drinking hot cocoa with no sugar and skim milk powder is the in the same category as “dark chocolate”? Surely pure cocoa powder is the ingredient of chocolate and the darker it is, the less cream is added, therefore it’s really just the powder itself that is so good for one?? Thank you Vivian
Thanks once more for very valuable information concerning our bone health. I tell everyone about your program.It seems everyone is so ignorant about nutition and medication.I thank you once again for all the info that you have shared with us.
WOW, this diet gets better and better. I try to eat Tomstoe Sause several times a week. We buy fresh Parsley but usually loose it before we get to eat it up. We do use it in salads, and lots of dried is sprinlked on other foods. Pink grapefruit is one of my favorites. I can’t eat them faster than they spoil. I do have a grapefruit just about everyday for breakfast and or lunch. The season is good for tropical fruit right now and Pink Grapefruit has my vote. Actually I ate two yesterday. Being in Sunny Fla. I’m sure you have plenty of this healthy fruit.. I get excited when I realize that I am following parts of the diet that I didn’t know were “parts of the diet!”. Thanks Viv for keeping me informed. It’s the highlight of my day reading your blogs and knowing I do some things right to fight this disease.. I think knowing how important diet is to fight this disease is half the battle. Osteoporosis may be the silent disease, but thanks to you and your blogs, It has a voice. We can choose to Read, listen, and fight it with our diet and exercise. I believe this is the best way to see positive results. I am truly blessed to have found you and jumped on board with you program…
Hi Vivian 🙂
Thank you for your recent emails full of information as always 🙂 I am so glad that I have been using all 3 of your top foods that nourish my bones. I didn’t realise though that dark chocolate would have been in that category but I’m not complaining 🙂
We eat lots of salads and we grow most of our own vegetables for this purpose, various lettuce types, parsley & other herbs & chives, plus of course.. potatoes, beans, carrots, turnips.
Cabbages, cauliflower & brussels don’t grow very well in our garden for some reason so we have to buy these from our local shops.
have a great day
Thanks for your site i really appreciate the information, actually an accident with a car that have impact on my waist which affect my hip bone, after an x-ray, i had a crack on the bone and my Dr. said i have to wait for some times for the bone to grow naturally and the crack point will be refill back, apart from pills been given to me i need some food and fruits to take to boost the healing process.
Hope to hear from you