Summer is upon us and that means the weather is heating up, and more people are spending time outside soaking up that sweet, sweet sunshine. And as happy as that makes us, it’s still essential to make sure you’re keeping protected against the sun’s rays! Just because the Earth-penetrating UVA and UVB rays aren't noticeable to the naked eye, it doesn't make them any less of a danger. Did you know that the food you eat can have a major impact on how your skin reacts to powerful UV rays? This is because sunburn is a type of inflammation, and diet has a huge influence on inflammation in the body. Your diet can actually increase or decrease your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, as well as its capability to restore itself when it does get damaged or burnt. That's why we've put together a list of foods that pack in potent UV-protecting nutrients. So add these foods to your shopping list ASAP to prevent burnt and shedding skin this summer! Blueberries Blueberries, and most berries in fact, are loaded with powerful antioxidants which protect against free radicals that can damage skin due to stress and of course, sun exposure. Blueberries also a great source of vitamin C, which can boost collagen production and help prevent wrinkles after a long day at the beach. Anyone for fruit salad? Carrots Carrots, along with other red and orange fruits and veggies such as oranges, red peppers, and tomatoes, are a triple threat against UV damage! They contain beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin C. All three of these important nutrients have been shown to act as a defence against the dangerous effects of sun exposure including photodamage, skin cancer, and premature aging. Nuts Another great protector against sunburn is Omega-3s fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation and encourage healing. Our bodies can’t make omega-3s, so it’s vital that we get them from our diet. A great and tasty source of omega-3s, that are easy to add to your diet, is nuts! Almonds are also loaded with dermis-defending vitamin E. Not only does this vitamin defend against UV damage, it also helps your skin looking youthful and radiant due to its moisturizing properties. Green Tea Okay, so it’s not a food, but its protective properties definitely deem green tea worthy of this list! The plant polyphenols in green tea, namely EGCG, have photoprotective properties, meaning they protect our cells from the damaging effects of UV radiation. It may also contain preventative effects against the development of skin cancer. So this summer, why not turn to the power of green tea to help defend your skin from UV damage. Sweet Potatoes Sweet potatoes are also another favourite, because not only are they delicious, they’re also great at protecting your skin against sun damage. Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta carotene and vitamin C that may help to defend your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Additionally, sweet potatoes are also rich in ellagic acid, which is a nutrient that can prevent tumour growth. Thanks spud! Seeds Hemp seeds, as well as chia seeds and linseeds, are another rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help our skin maintain its integrity, keeping it smooth, strong, and supple. As these seeds contain the highly anti-inflammatory omega- 3s, they can help your skin heal if you catch a nasty sunburn. Another great sun defender is sunflower seeds which are packed with skin-protecting vitamin E. Watermelon Watermelon is a perfect fruit for the summer that’s packed with heart-healthy magnesium and is also super hydrating. On top of this, watermelon is also a rich source of lycopene, a nutrient that can help to protect the skin and act as a natural sunblock. The juicy fruit also contains ample amounts of vitamin C, which has been linked to protecting against both UVA and UVB damage. Spinach Spinach, and other leafy greens, aren’t just healthy and nutritious, but also great for protecting you against the sun’s harmful rays. They’re rich in beta carotene and polyphenols which both act as antioxidants, which are important for helping to repair any damage caused by the sun.