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How “Giving Thanks” Can Fight Sun Damage

This Thanksgiving, make your food work for you.

As you plan your feast, why not try to incorporate foods that have proven to protect and possibly repair skin from sun damage? Numerous trials have concluded that foods rich in antioxidants help the skin guard and refresh itself.

Sweet Potatoes, Squash, & Carrots: These veggies are packed with beta-carotene, which protects skin and may even reverse the effects of sun damage. Beta-carotene is converted into retinol (vitamin A) once in the body. Like all antioxidants, carotenes protect the skin from damaging free radicals—which can cause lines, wrinkles, and cellular damage. Additionally, a recent study conducted in Korea revealed some exciting findings: 30 healthy women were given a daily dose of 30 mg of beta carotene (about six carrots’ worth) for three months; results show the antioxidants protecting and repairing cells from photoaging. Sweet potato casserole, anyone?

Cremini Mushrooms: Often sold next to the popular “white button” and portobello mushrooms, cremini mushrooms fall just between these two varieties with regards to age. Cremini mushrooms are moderately mature and are celebrated by foodies for their superior flavor, texture, and ability to hold up in soups and stews. But they won’t just benefit your recipes; these mushrooms contain one of the highest selenium contents available in the foods we eat. Selenium is needed to make glutathione peroxidase, which fights free radicals during sun exposure. These brown mushrooms also provide B vitamins, which are needed to create fresh, youthful-looking skin cells.

Cherries: Don’t forget dessert! Try including a cherry pie in your family’s Thanksgiving feast to reap the benefits of this power-packed fruit. The trick is to choose Montmorency cherries—a tart, juicy variety. This cherry provides the antioxidant melatonin, which protects the skin against UV radiation and stimulates new cell growth. Cherries are also full of vitamin C, which helps build collagen, a natural wrinkle-preventer.

Find recipes that include these ingredients and your taste buds and skin will be sure to thank you. From everyone at Zimmet Vein & Dermatology, have a joyful, safe Thanksgiving holiday!

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