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Use Less Sunscreen and Still Protect Your Skin From Sunburn

Aug 18, 2007
One of the drawbacks of spending time outside is the risk of sunburn. No one wants a red, painful burn. Getting sunburned can quickly put a damper on a vacation or make spending more time outside out of the question. Plus, sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer. So you definitely want to protect yourself from the sun. But before you reach for the sunscreen bottle, you might want to take a look at your diet.

Did you ever think that one reason God makes all the wonderful fruits and vegetables ripen in the summer is to help protect you from the sun? Well, a new study shows that certain nutrients from the most colorful fruits and vegetables will actually protect you from that nasty sunburn.

In the study, researchers asked 24 women to drink a high-flavone cocoa drink or a placebo. The researchers found that the women who drank the placebo (which contained only 10% of the nutrients in the cocoa drink) did not have any additional protection from the sun. But the women who drank the higher-flavonoids drink experienced 15-25% less sunburn than the placebo group.

But that's not all the researchers found. They also discovered that the women who drank the nutrient-rich drink had thicker and smoother skin than those in the placebo group. And they also had better blood flow to their skin, as well as better hydration and skin density than those drinking the placebo.

The researchers concluded that a diet high in flavones will help protect your skin from the sun. While you'll still burn, the pain and redness won't be as great. And you'll recover much faster. That's good news for anyone who has ever had a nasty burn!

The best way to get a diet high in flavones is to eat plenty of colored vegetables and fruits. These include blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and many others. You can also get lots of flavones from green tea and cocoa.

With this information, and proper management of your time outdoors, you won't need as much, if any, additional protection. But if you're going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, you'll still want to use sunscreen to give your skin all the protection it needs.

("Long-Term Ingestion of High Flavanol Cocoa Provides Photoprotection against UV-Induced Erythema and Improves Skin Condition in Women," Heinrich U, Neukam K, et al, J Nutr., 2006; 136(6): 1565-9.)
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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