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Home Ec: Eat Your Sunscreen: How to protect your skin with food

Foods high in carotenoids provide natural sun protection.

These include many fruits and vegetables, especially leafy dark greens and those that are yellow-orange like apricots, carrots, and yams. Other good sources include eggs, spirulina, and algae. The red pigment found in salmon, trout, and shrimp is another potent carotenoid.

Get your Vitamin D.

Vitamin D generated by sunlight may help protect the skin from cellular damage, including damage caused by sunlight itself. You would have to spend about 15 minutes between the hours of 10 and 2, with 85% of your body exposed, for optimal Vitamin D absorption (for a fair skinned person, much more for a dark skinned person).

Foods high in Vitamin D include intestines, organ meats, skin and fat from many land animals, as well as shellfish, oily fish and insects. To get Vitamin D from the animal they must have be exposed to sunlight or in the case of fish have been fed on phytoplankton. Most modern diets don’t include a lot of intentional insect eating (fortunately) or a lot of animal flesh actually exposed to sunlight (unfortunately).

Most people will not get enough Vitamin D from sun or diet. (You can ask your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels.) A good cod liver oil is one of the most absorbable forms of Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D drops are another source. I take my Vitamin D with calcium and magnesium.


You can find resources for healthier eating and great sources of Vitamin D supplementation at the Green Mama Virtual Store. Shop in the US or Shop in Canada.

Learn more about sunscreen and nontoxic options.