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7 Foods to Eat to Help Prevent Sunburn

Get that summer glow without feeling the burn! These foods are jam-packed with nourishing nutrients that give your skin its first line of defense.

Picture this: Skin peeling and obnoxiously reflecting a red (burning) tint. We have all been there. You can apply the sunscreen all you want and you still may be feeling the effects of those harsh UVA/UVB rays. And unfortunately, according to Consumer Reports, more than 40 percent of sunscreens tested do not live up to their SPF claims. In fact, two products that boasted they had an SPF of 50 actually delivered the same results as the one with an SPF of 8.

Another study from the Department of Dermatology in Beijing, China found that while sunscreen is effective at protecting against UVB rays (the ones that cause the burning sensation), they fail at protecting against UVA wavelengths (the ones that wrinkle your smooth skin).

But like so many other health-saving things in life, food can be a part of the answer! That's why Eat This, Not That! has compiled a list of the top 7 foods you should stock up on to help avoid burnt skin this summer. And for more skin-improving bites, don't miss these 25 Healthy Foods That Give You Glowing Skin!

Red Wine

Red wine

That's right, you read that correctly. Sipping on red wine can actually assist you in stocking up your antioxidant reserves, so you can kick UVA booty! A nutrient called a *flavonoid, is the component in wine that is credible for making sure you don't receive the backlash of a sunburn settles in. Have you heard of melanoma? Yeah, no thank you. Thankfully, a glass of this red, antioxidant-rich drink will not only help you unwind and relax, it also enables you to fight against skin cancer.

Here is the science breakdown: Flavonoids prevent the skin from forming something called reactive oxygen species, or ROS. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, "These molecules exert a variety of harmful effects by altering key cellular functions and may result in cell death." Wow! Pop open that bottle this summer to keep your cells thriving and healthy!

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes

Did you know when you are dehydrated you crave sweet things? Instead of going up to the concession stand at your local pool and buying a $2 candy bar, opt for a sweet potato! And save one dollar along the way, too. Not only is this potato loaded with flavor and potassium, it also provides a wealth of a specific kind of vitamin A called, beta-carotene, which is only found in plants. The American Journal of Clinical Journal reports that this vitamin is crucial to attaining sufficient amounts of in order to build a team of antioxidant micronutrients. Ultimately, this band of antioxidants will act as a defense shield against the sun. Check out some delicious sweet potato recipes, here!

Olive Oil

Olive oil

Embrace that Mediterranean diet and drizzle some olive oil atop your leafy green salad, because olive oil is a natural sun blocker. The high level of a plant peptide in found in olive oil called, squalane is known to protect the skin's sensitive lipids or fats. Your skin is not going to burn with this in your system. For a super delicious, light dressing, drizzle ½ tablespoon of olive oil with a squirt of honey and a dash of sea salt over top your bed of spinach. Your taste buds will appreciate the sweet and salty combo and your skin, of course, will thank you for protecting it. It's a win-win! For more healthy fats click here!



Have you heard the news? One serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than a medium orange. Weighing in at 84.7 mg of vitamin C, one cup of strawberries beats out the vitamin C content of a medium orange by about 15 mg. While the difference is tiny, you will not want to be frugal with your intake of vitamin C this summer. This cold-combating vitamin we gobble supplements of in the winter also can help us stay healthy in the summer, too. But in an entirely different way.

According to a study conducted by an assistant professor at the Vanavarayar Institute of Agriculture in Pollachi, India, vitamin C plays a "main role in fighting against free radical species that are the main cause of numerous negative skin changes." Wow! Pack a bag of these bad boys in your beach bag and pop 'em in your mouth as you soak up the rays poolside.


Avocado toast

Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant that protects your skin against free radical damage… and avocados are full of it! Not to mention, vitamin E is also a key player in anti-aging. So, when you eat an avocado not only are you preventing your skin from wrinkles brought on by UVA rays, you also are combating the effects of biological aging as well. If you need some ideas on how to incorporate avocados into your diet read up on avocado recipes for weight loss!


Seared salmon lemon spinach

Sitting alongside the ocean may give you a hankering for some wild caught salmon. And it should, seeing as this fish is truly one of a kind. If it's dark pink complexion was not enough to reel you in, maybe its high omega-3 fatty acid content will. Especially because a small British study found that fish rich in omega-3s guarded against sunburn and any changes in the DNA that can lead to cancer. Quite an impressive fish!



This juicy superfood is one you will not want to neglect this summer! These small red pearls contain excellent sources of antioxidants that slow and prevent oxidative stress from free radicals doing damage on your smooth skin. Both UVA and UVB rays are notorious for imposing damage on your skin's precious lipid membrane. Luckily, a study from Texas A&M showed that pomegranate seeds (small but mighty) protect cells from being damaged or destroyed after exposure from both kinds of rays. Looking for more antioxidant foods to fend off free-radicals? You won't want to miss these 30 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods.


Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne