Sun Smart Secrets!
Whether vacationing at the beach, playing 18 holes of golf, hiking with friends or walking the dog, you’ll want to know how you can soak up enough sun to get a healthy dose of vitamin D, without burning or damaging your skin. The good new is, there’s no need to shun the sun or cover yourself with sunblock from head to toe every time you leave the house. In fact, it’s better that you don’t. About one-fourth of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D. By learning these 5 sun smart tips, you can benefit your body with a peachy golden tan and avoid looking like a wrinkly overripe tomato!
Get a Healthy Dose of “D”
Sunshine is the best source of natural vitamin D, which improves calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, supports mental health, strengthens bones, boosts immunity, fights cancer, reduces inflammation, improves mood and enhances wellbeing. Depending on your skin tone, age, diet, susceptibility to sunburn and the intensity of sunlight, a healthy dose of “D” is 15-60 minutes daily. Once you start turning pink, consider the reinforcements below.
Although it’s good to be pro-sunlight, you want to avoid overexposure, a.k.a. sunburn. First, seek sunshine in the morning or late afternoon and avoid midday, peak UV radiation. Second, bring an umbrella or find shade under trees. Third, wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeve shirts, pants, and sunglasses. Lastly, apply a safe, mineral-based sunscreen.
Fish oil, grape seed extract, resveratrol, and vitamin D supplements provide protection from sun damage.
Select Healthier Sunscreens
Many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals and hormone disruptors that release free radicals in sunlight, are absorbed through the skin, create hormonal imbalances, and can cause skin irritations/allergies. Always read the ingredients label and avoid: oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, PABA, and vitamin A (retinol or retinal palmitate). Choose mineral-based sunscreens with the following active ingredients: zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
Eat Protective Foods
Nutrient-dense foods high in antioxidants protect your skin from the inside out. Enjoy foods rich in beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers), lycopene (tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon) vitamin E (almonds, asparagus, pumpkin seeds), catechins and polyphenols (green/white tea), omega-3s and astaxathin (salmon, fish oil), resveratrol (blueberries, red grapes, red wine), natural saturated fats (coconut/palm oil, pastured butter) and proanthocyanidins (grape seeds, wine, blueberries, hazelnuts, pistachios).
Supplement For Support
Fish oil, grape seed extract, resveratrol, and vitamin D supplements provide protection from sun damage. Vitamin D from the sun is regulated by the body, making it the preferred source, but a supplement can be a good alternative. Ask your doctor to get tested and start specific supplementation.
Sample Sun Smart Menu
• Breakfast: eggs cooked in coconut oil with kale and a side of blueberries
• Beverage: organic green/white tea
• Snack: hummus with sliced red pepper and baby carrot
• Lunch: wild salmon salad with spinach, strawberries and walnuts
• Snack: avocado sprinkled with sea salt
• Dinner: meatballs with zucchini (or spaghetti squash if it’s in season), tomatoes and raw milk cheese
• Beverage: glass of organic red wine
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