Summer is right around the corner, and this means it’s time to protect your skin from sun damage! Although for many of us that live in sunny states, the sun’s rays can be strong throughout the year. For those of us that live in Chicago or regions that have cold winters, we take full advantage of being outside in the summertime so that we can kick our hibernating-for-four-months-inside, Vitamin D deficiency to the curb.
Many of us skin-conscious babes wear sunscreen daily and are aware of the problems we will face if we damage our skin from too much UV exposure (wrinkles, sun spots, sunburn, and heaven forbid: skin cancer). Yet sometimes we forget to re-apply SPF hourly, or think that our quick walk to the grocery store won’t do much damage to our skin.
To help nourish and protect our skin from the inside out, I want to highlight a nutrient that I seem to talk about all the time with clients and readers, beta-carotene.
Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage With Beta Carotene
Beta carotene is a carotenoid antioxidant which is a precursor to Vitamin A. Not only is beta carotene an antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals from UV damage, it helps support your immune system and brain. Vitamin A is also a powerful skin saver. It may help correct all skin conditions by supporting collagen production (which is why so many people use it in the form of Retin A products).
Studies show that beta carotene also helps your skin heal faster if you have a wound or any sort of inflammation happening with your skin. Consuming foods high in beta carotene can also protect your skin from getting sunburned. So make sure to include beta carotene rich foods to your diet during spring and summer months. What’s even better? By consuming foods rich in caretenoids, you can give your skin a natural glow from the inside out. This means you don’t have to lay out in the sun or use self-tanning creams – hooray!
Easiest way to get your beta carotene? Carrots and sweet potatoes!
Whether it’s adding carrots to your juices, shredding them on your salads, or cooking them for a side dish. Carrots are one of the richest sources of Vitamin A so you’ll be protecting and nourishing your skin from the inside out. You can even blend them up with lemon juice and honey to apply topically as a face mask.
Sweet potatoes are another excellent source of beta carotene as well as healthy fiber and a good choice for a complex carb. I like making mashed sweet potato with honey and ginger if a sweet craving strikes. To marry these two beta carotene foods, I created a simple roasted carrot & sweet potato side dish. It’s packed with caretenoids and antioxidants that will give your skin a natural summer glow. Enjoy!
Simple Sun Goddess Bowl: Roasted Carrot + Sweet Potatoes
- 4 cups chopped carrots
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- drizzle of honey
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Toss the carrots and sweet potatoes with the coconut oil and seasonings
- Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of honey
- Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Turn the veggies about half way through so that both sides can be thoroughly cooked.
- Season with additional spices or herbs if needed and serve warm.