It's vital to get your vitamin D and what better place to start than the sun ' but in the process make sure you are protected from harmful UV rays
In South Africa, we are blessed with an abundance of sunshine. Even so, you could be lacking in vitamin D, essential for regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and supporting a healthy immune system. So, other than eating Vitamin-D rich foods, the easiest way to get your daily dose is to spend time in the sun.
Protection is important and there's no point in going out into the sun to get your Vitamin D and covering up ' the sun's rays simply won't reach you. Here we list some natural ways to keep your skin safe:
1. Sesame oil blocks about 30 percent of UV rays.
2. Sunflower seed oil is a great source of beta carotene, which helps make your skin less sensitive to the sun.
3. Broccoli seed oil protects the skin from free radical damage.
4. Vitamin E, applied topically help lessen sun damage - but be sure to get only naturally occurring vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol and tocotrienol) - it'll help stave off wrinkles, too.
5. Walnut extract ' there's a reason very tanned people are likened to walnuts, as this extract is an effective self-tanning sunscreen. There are compounds in walnut extract that react with the keratin proteins in your skin to form coloured compounds that protect you from UV.
6. Tea time - green tea has myriad benefits and the same antioxidants that protect your cells on the inside can also protect your skin. You can apply green tea directly to your skin as a sun protection.
Get protection from the inside by consuming these foods:
1. Citrus is high in Vitamin C and long-term intake of vitamin C, especially when combined with vitamin E, can reduce your potential for sunburn.
2. Carrots are filled to the brim with beta carotene, which protects your skin again free radical damage caused by sun exposure.
3. Strawberries are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which help protect your skin from sun damage, and can assist in the healing process.
4. Green tea - here it is again, it seems that green tea is your best accompaniment for a summer's day, both on the inside and out. Green tea's catechins have disease-preventing properties and protect against the inflammation caused by sunburn.
5. Almonds are a fantastic source of vitamin E, which repairs and protects the skin from sunlight and also contain quercetin, which protects against UV damage.
6. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce and Swiss chard are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, both powerful antioxidants that slow the cell growth prompted by UV light.
7. Tomatoes contain lycopene, with is a carotenoid and antioxidant that reduces free radical damage from the sun. 8. Flax seed oil is a brilliant source of omega 3 fatty acids and can protect your skin from UV rays while also keeping it moisturised.
There are so many benefits to being outside in the sun, in nature - so use natural methods from mother nature for your protection and then go outside and embrace the health-giving rays from the sun. You could also begin practising sun-gazing, which is an ancient practise that's advocated for better all-round health and even eye health. The practise is recommended to anyone, and is apparently safe to do in the hour after sunset or the hour before sunrise and build up to a period of around 1 1/2 minutes. You should be barefoot and standing on plain earth while doing this.
DID YOU KNOW? The tannins in strawberries reduce sunburn sting - if you do get a bit burned, simply mash up some strawberries and rub over your skin, leaving for a few minutes before rinsing off with water.
DID YOU KNOW? Lycopene from tomatoes is more bioavailable from cooked tomatoes but watermelon contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes.