If you've spent a decent amount of time in the sun, you know just how powerful it can be. Too much UV damage can cause burning, which causes oxidation and inflammation that can in its worst form, lead to cancer. It's important to keep your skin covered with either UV protectant clothing, or sunscreen. You can also prevent burns from the inside out! Yes you heard me correctly... natural, plant based sunscreen that you eat.
Protect your skin from sun damage with lycopene. This colorful antioxidant known as a carotenoid is called lycopene, presenting itself in the form of red fruits and vegetables. Similar to beta carotene, lycopene can prevent oxidative UV damage...so it's kind of like sunscreen that you eat.
Lycopene is best paired with fat, so make sure to eat it in conjunction with nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, olives, or coconut.
If you're interested in skin health, check out the MamaSezz Beauty Bundle. Order a bundle of ready-made meals, designed to protect and repair fine lines, acne, and sagging skin. Eat your way to better skin health, and glow from the inside out.
Top 5 lycopene foods to enjoy this summer
This tropical fruit is a lesser known super food, loaded with health promoting nutrients, and you guessed it… is the most lycopene dense food out there! These pink fruits boost heart health because of their high fiber, potassium and antioxidant content, which decrease inflammation. Because of this high fiber content, guava has been shown to increase regularity, and promote the growth of good gut bacteria. In fact, this low calorie fruit contains 12% of your daily intake of fiber, which means if you’re looking to lose weight, guava is your guy.
Because of it’s crazy high vitamin C content (one guava is about 200% your RDA!) (1) guava makes the perfect immunity boosting snack… which could come in handy right about now (I hear there is something going around).
Tomatoes are more than just the second highest source of lycopene… they are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K (even though it’s 95% water!). Tomatoes are a top tier fruit, because not only are they masquerading as a vegetable, but they taste good in just about everything. Sliced over salad, layered into sandwiches, sun dried, roasted, grilled, sugared, or marinated?! There’s nothing tomatoes can’t do.
One easy way to load up on tomatoes? MamaSezz Oil-Free Marinara Sauce.
Here’s another watery fruit that you’d never expect to be loaded with nutrients, but has surprised us all! The hidden beauty of watermelon is that it comes in it’s own biodegradable bowl (just slice in half and eat with a spoon!). UV protection isn’t the only thing watermelon has to offer. This giant fruit is loaded with vitamins A, B6 and C, which makes it the perfect summertime snack.
Tangy, sweet, flavorful, and zesty, this fragrant citrus fruit is delicious anyway you slice it! Juice it, peel it, slice it up, broil it, enjoy chilled…the options are endless.
Fun fact: Grapefruits were made accidentally by crossing pomelos with sweet oranges. Eating ½ a grapefruit before a meal can promote weight loss, and because they are loaded with beta carotene, they are good for your skin too! But be careful if you’re taking any medications, because grapefruit can increase the toxicity levels of the drug.
This tropical fruit is unique because it is a powerhouse of nutrients. The benefits range from disease prevention because of it’s high antioxidant content, to an immunity boosting fruit because one small papaya contains more than 150% of your DV of vitamin C.
Alzheimer's patients who took fermented papaya for 6 months found a 40% drop in oxidative damage (2). This powerful antioxidant effect is also beneficial for cancer prevention (3).
Overall, if you’re trying to prevent UV damage, and inflammation, papaya is your guy.
Add some plant-based fat!
Remember, lycopene works best when paired with a fat, so enjoy alongside nuts, seeds, avocado, or blended into your smoothie with coconut milk. And yes, these lycopene packed fruits can protect your skin from sun damage, but it’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen, especially when the UV index is high (you can check the UV index on most weather apps or with a google search including your location).
- Load up on lycopene dense foods for skin protection
- Pair your fruits with healthy, plant based fats to get the most benefits
- Stay hydrated, cool, and covered when spending large portions of time outside in the sun