The summer solstice signifies the hottest season of the year is upon us. The recent spell of warmth has led to days soaking up the rays in the park, BBQs and punnets of plump berries to snack on. Along with summertime comes a well­deserved decline in work and school but that does not mean we can forget about looking after ourselves; and our skin.

Protecting our skin ­ both by applying sunscreen and lowering overexposure to the sun ­ can reduce our risk of sunburn, skin damage and potentially dangerous skin cancer. It is important to look at the ingredients in sunscreen and to try and avoid nasties such as oxybenzone and parabens (GPnutrition wrote a blog on sunscreen last year, read it here).

sunny-side-up-03

As we are aware, what we eat and certain potent nutrients, are essential for skin health and can help us get (and keep) the golden glow too. Research (read here, pdf) has shown that adopting a healthy diet can influence skin colour and help achieve a beautiful, even suntan after a little while in the sun.

The secret lies with natural chemical substances called carotenoids. Too much sun ages the skin and increases cancer risk, so why not replace hours baking with more of the following foods:

sunny-side-up-04

  • Melon & watermelon
  • Peaches & apricots
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Squash, pumpkin & sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Antioxidants are substances that help to reduce the damaging effects that things like sun exposure, pollution and other environmental aggressors have on our skin. This damage is what starts to make us look older ­ it shows up as wrinkles and sun spots and patches of discolouration, or it starts to make the skin sag and look thinner and lifeless.

sunny-side-up-02

 

In a nutshell: all of this damage isn’t good. The good news is that our cells contain antioxidants naturally and these help to neutralise this damage and keep it all in check, but the bad news is that quite often, the onslaught from things like smoking cigarettes and sitting outside in the midday sun can be too much for our natural defences. That’s when the real damage happens and that’s why a bit of an antioxidant boost ­ through food and skincare could help to limit the ongoing damage.

As well as carotenoids (in the list above), here are a few more important groups of antioxidants:

sunny-side-up-05

Flavonoids
Green tea, citrus fruits, red wine, onion and apples.

Lycopene
Tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon.

Vitamin C
Oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi, mango, broccoli, spinach, peppers and strawberries.

Vitamin E
Wheatgerm oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

The bottom line is the more varied and fresh your diet is the more antioxidants you will consume. And it’s not just getting the glow but keeping the elasticity intact and wrinkles at bay that is important to us. Once you are as bronzed as the god(ess) you aspire to, don’t forget to frequently moisturise. Gabriela is a particular fan of using natural oils such as coconut or almond oil which instantly nourish the skin and leave it silky smooth and smelling delicious.

Gabriela and team

 

About The Author

Gabriela Peacock
Family Nutritional Therapist

Gabriela Peacock completed BSc (Hons) in Health Science (Nutritional Therapy) from the University of Westminster and Nutritional Therapy Diploma from The College of Naturopathic Medicine, London. Gabriela is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT), adheres to the strict BANT Code of Ethics and Practice. A background in fashion modeling enlightened her to the importance of a nutritious diet and its impact on maintaining a youthful body image. Through the application of Nutritional Science, Gabriela looks to identify biochemical imbalances which may prevent optimal health. Guidance is tailored to complement medical treatment and promote health through the provision of nutrient rich food choices and supplement protocols. Gabriela's approach is patient-centred and evidence-based: she recognizes that each person is an individual, with unique requirements and differing health goals. Patients can expect tailor- made support based on comprehensive health screens, dietary assessment, laboratory testing and ongoing nutritional management. Amongst other diagnostic tools, Gabriela offers wide range of tests to identify systemic imbalances. These tests include: Comprehensive Digestive Health Analysis Food Intolerances and Allergies Cardiovascular Testing Assessment of Hormonal Imbalances Nutritional Health Screening As well as addressing individual diagnosis, Gabriela has developed programme themes on the basis of concerns she has most commonly encountered in her London-based patients, and reflecting her specialist research interests. These include: Weight Management Detoxification & Liver Cleanse Immune Support Healthy Skin & Ageing

Related Posts