Many people aspire to a bronzed suntan, but with medical advice warning against spending too much time in direct sunlight, people are looking for ways to make their tanning time more effective and efficient. One of those ways is through nutrition. There are certain foods you can eat that help protect the skin and aid tanning.
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Carrots are full of a hydrocarbon called beta-carotene. It is this element that gives carrots -- and other orange foods -- their colour. Beta-carotene helps to protect the skin against sun damage, combatting the negative effects of free radicals within the skin's cells. Eating carrots helps the skin avoid sunburn, resulting in a better tan. You can also get beta-carotene through red peppers, apricots and mango
Spinach contains a chemical called lutein. A close relative of beta-carotene, lutein helps protect the skin against the damaging effects of the sun. Peas, leeks, kiwi fruit and black grapes are also rich in lutein.
Tomatoes contain the carotenoid lycopene. Like beta-carotene it is a substance that affects pigmentation and so can help the tanning process while protecting the skin against sun damage. Lycopene promotes effective, uniform tanning, and as such is a primary ingredient in many tanning pills. Lycopene is also found in guava and pink grapefruit.
Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon contain high levels of a fatty acid called omega-3. This element helps to protect skin cells and helps their regeneration after sun damage. Omega-3 is present in eggs, which are also high in vitamin A, another chemical compound that helps the skin rejuvenate.
Watermelon contains a high level of water. Eating it helps to keep your skin hydrated. Dehydrated skin is more fragile and prone to sun damage, such as the development of wrinkles. Other types of melon also make a good hydrating snack when out in the sunshine, as do cucumbers. Drinking lots of water is also recommended. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, as these cause the skin to lose moisture.
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