It is known that certain nutrients, of which beta-carotene is probably the best known, not only promote tanning, but in some cases help to protect the skin from solar radiation and in others to prolong the acquired tan. Many cosmetics and sunscreens in fact contain vitamins, fatty acids, antioxidants and other micronutrients that, however, the body can acquire through food.
Hence, a good eating plan initiated weeks before your appointment with the sun will help stimulate melanin production, protect collagen and eliminate free radicals. All this will allow a good tan, of course always using sun filters, and will help to maintain the health of the skin, preventing its aging because of excessive exposure to the sun.
The best foods
To prepare the skin for sun exposure, the following types of nutrients should be included in the diet:
- Vitamin B: is essential to maintain the elasticity of the skin, protecting collagen. It is found in pasta and generally in whole grains and all their derivatives.
- Antioxidants: this group includes vitamin C, zinc and lutein. They are present in many foods, especially red fruits and vegetables (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, aubergines, etc.), as well as carrots, avocado, cabbage, broccoli, citrus (orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lime and lemon), spinach and onions. In addition, a glass of red wine a day is even healthy for the heart, but also to prevent the action of free radicals, as it has a high content of antioxidants and also in a very concentrated way.
- Beta-carotene: is a provitamin that the liver transforms into vitamin A. In fact it has an antioxidant action and allows to eliminate the free radicals that the organism generates as a response to external aggressions, as the excess of sun, the tobacco, etc. But beta-carotene also increases the production of melatonin, which favors and accelerates tanning. The carrot is the food with the highest concentration of this provitamin, but it can be said that the most colorful fruits and vegetables contain it to a greater or lesser extent: pumpkin, tomato, plums, apricots, peaches, green beans, citrus, watermelon, etc..
All these foods prepare the skin for sunbathing, but when the time comes, it is also necessary to protect it from the harmful effects of exposure to ultraviolet radiation. In order to do this, it is necessary to insist on some of the foods mentioned above and to add some others:
- Water: it is essential during the summer and even more so when you spend time under the sun. It is essential to prevent dehydration of the body and, in this case, to keep the skin hydrated. Always have a bottle of water on hand and drink frequently, always in small sips, even if you are not thirsty.
- Vitamin C: in addition to being an antioxidant, it protects collagen and elastin – two fundamental substances for maintaining the elasticity of the skin – from the action of solar radiation. All citrus fruits, red fruits, kiwis, papaya and vegetables such as cabbages and spinach are very rich in this nutrient.
- Vitamin E: also has an antioxidant action as it facilitates the blocking of free radicals. It is found in cereals, nuts and legumes.
Fatty acids: they favour the fact that the tan lasts longer. They are usually found in vegetable oils -especially olive oil-, oily fish (sardine, anchovy, corvina, mackerel, etc.) and in nuts.
All these foods allow for a good tan and even considerably lengthen its permanence, but this does not prevent us from maintaining the necessary precautions to prevent possible skin cancer: use suitable sun filters, avoid the hours of greater sunshine (12:00 to 17:00) and do not prolong tanning sessions beyond the 30 minutes recommended by specialists.