The Durham Farmers Market is reporting lots of canteloupes, tomatoes, and melons this weekend!
That is great news for summer hydrating and refreshing missions, but it is also good news for our skin!
Why is that?
Well, a variety of reasons will be detailed in this article. The primary one, however, is this:
Foods such as tomatoes and watermelon are higher in lycopene.
What is lycopene?
It is a super-antioxidant that is the red pigment found in many foods: tomatoes, watermelon, red oranges, apricots and even paprika. It has marked anti-inflammatory properties, which is great news for the dermal part of us!
Tomatoes are known for this ingredient and often paired with nutrient-boosting, (and tasty!), avocado.
Watermelon, is at least 90% water, a native of Africa, and has 40% more lycopene, which gives even more of skin-protection.
This is not to say that one should go skipping about without a broad-spectrum sunscreen or sunblock.
However, “nice save” that one of our favorite summer fruits in NC is also a super-duper, double treat!
Watermelon has also been shown by scientists in Florida to have an amino acid called L-citrulline. During this study the scientists noted that this amino acid converts to L-arginine in the body. This helps form nitric oxide, which is necessary for vascular health and healthy blood pressure. The process may prevent pre-hypertension from progressing to full-blown high-blood pressure. Why is L-citrulline cool? The type found in watermelon (or extracts thereof), does not give the same gastrointestinal side effects as some may experience to the dietary supplement L-arginine. As if that weren’t enough, it is also high in potassium, which as we all know is helpful in a number of ways. In this regard,however, it keeps salt from raising high blood pressure, and can be helpful to those already on diuretics. Always check with a doctor before embarking on any new regimen, though!
Watermelon isn’t the only “superfood” we have in abundance at market!
Foods high in antioxidants are hailed as cancer fighters, (or preventers, to be more precise).
Keep in mind that the yellow and orange foods are carotenoids and good for skin also.
To sum it up, a few healthy skin foods with previously published benefits are listed below:
1. Blueberries (antioxidant, anticarcinogen)
2. Apricots (beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin A)
3. Dark chocolate ( antioxidant, anticarcinogen)
4. Tomatoes (it is said that cooking tomatoes releases more of the lycopene)
5. Oranges (vitamin C, phytochemicals, flavonoid antioxidants)
6. Carrots* (carotenoid- flavonoid antioxidants, vitamin A)
7. Watermelon (lycopene, potassium, L-citrulline)
8. Orange and yellow peppers (carotenoid; “one small red, yellow or orange pepper provides three times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C—way ahead of citrus”)
9. Spinach ( vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium, flavonoids)
10. Fish (Omega 3 foods are good for skin- they protect from free radicals)
A word of warning: some foods are said to cause sun sensitivity.
This seems to be more likely to occur in folks that are already *photosensitive (some cannot eat carrots either.)
Although rare, photosensitivity can occur from eating celery, fennel, dill, limes, parsely, figs, parsnips, artichokes, lettuce and endive, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center explains. See links for more information.
Take good care this summer, stay hydrated , use a skin protectant, and eat a well-balanced diet.
Happy Local Eating!
( Informational only. Not to be construed as medical advice).
Food information sources: