4 Foods That Protect Your Body From UV Rays

May 31, 2012 11:14 AM EDT | By Amanda Remling
Stock the fridge with watermelon this summer! The delicious and juicy fruit is rich in lycopene which helps protect against sunburn and skin cancer. (Photo: Wikipedia)

This past Memorial Weekend many spent hours soaking in the sun. Some may have used sunscreen to protect their skin from harmful UV rays, others might have not, but did you know that certain foods can help protect your body from the sun?

No matter how many helpful "super UV-blocking" foods you eat it is still important to lather on the sunblock before stepping into the summer sun, but it's nice to know that a healthy diet can increase your skin's ability to protect against sun damage.

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Take a look at this list to find out what foods in your diet are already helping to protect against harmful UV rays, and which you should be adding to your grocery cart.


Watermelon isn't just a delicious and hydrating fruit to eat at a summer picnic. According to EMaxHealth.com, the juicy fruit is rich is lycopene, an antioxidant and red carotenoid. The lycopene found in watermelon helps protect against sunburn and skin cancer. While lycopene can be found in tomatoes, papaya, red bell peppers and pink grapefruit, it is especially rich in watermelon. DrFrankLipman.com reports that watermelon contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes.

Dark Chocolate

Who doesn't love a reason to eat chocolate? While it may get a little messy if you eat chocolate out in the sun, dark chocolate contains flavonoids that "improve the skin's ability to protect against Erythema and possibly other UV-induced skin damage, like sun burns," reports Greatist.com. Dark chocolate also helps to keep your skin hydrated, which is a definite must in the hot summer months.


Surprise! Mom and dad (and Popeye) always told you to eat your greens, but I bet you didn't know that it's good for sun protection. Spinach, Swiss chard, Kale and fresh herbs are all backed with skin protecting antioxidants. EMaxHealth.com also lists broccoli as a must add to your diet to help protect against sunburn. They're suggestion is to bag up some fresh broccoli to snack on at the beach. Delicious, healthy and sunscreen that won't wash off in the ocean!

Green/Black Teas

Alright, green and black tea might not technically be a food, but drinking the polyphenol packed liquid helps limit blood supply to cancerous areas. Greatist.com reports that those that drink one cup of tea a day "have lower incidence of melanoma." Stay hydrated with green and black tea while fighting sunburn and skin cancer. It's a win, win!


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