Sunscreen remains the most effective method of preventing the dreaded skin cancer that seems to strike even at young ages. However, using sunscreen is not the only way to protect ourselves from the potential dangers. Turns out that the foods we eat can have an important sun protecting properties as well. Learn what foods to include in your diet to enjoy extra sun protection.

The main rules for preventing sun cancer seem simple enough: wear sunscreen, reapply it often, avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m and 4 p.m and wear protective accessories whenever possible. In reality, however, things are a little more complicated. With the uncertainty of the amount of time sunscreen offers the best protection, how much SPF is really needed for adequate protection, whether or not makeup with SPF is really enough to protect our skin, we could all use some tips on how to apply sunscreen effectively.

But whether you apply sunscreen religiously or you are less diligent than you probably should be, finding additional ways to protect yourself from the potential dangers is always a good idea. If you are trying to improve your dietary habits, you'll probably be excited to know that your efforts can help you in more than one area. Certain foods can help you prevent sunburns thanks to a variety of protective compounds. Here are a few foods you might want to include in your diet:

Cruciferous vegetables
Broccolli, kale or cauliflower are great choices if you wish to boost your vitamin and antioxidants intake. These vegetables are effective in preventing a variety of cancers thanks to the amazing compounds and phytochemicals they contain. In addition, brussel sprouts contain sulforaphane, a compound that is believed to increase the skin's ability to protect itself against cancer.

Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes have an impressive amount of beta-caroten, an antioxidant which has proven effective in fighting skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays, helping the skin repair itself. Although other melons have a similar properties, cantaloupes have the highest concentration of beta-caroten and vitamin C, another important nutrient that promotes healthy skin.

Dark chocolate
Scientists are beginning to uncover the amazing benefits that this tasty treat has to offer. Apparently, cocoa beans reduce the skin's sensitivity to sun rays, which can be especially beneficial if you are on a medication which has increased sun sensitivity as a side effect. Looking for a chocolate with a high cocoa content is best if you wish to get all the benefits.

Fish
The benefits that omega 3 fatty acids have to offer to our body are truly incredible. Aside from all the heart health benefits these compounds provide, omega 3 acids also help fight inflammation and help prevent sunburns. The protein contained in fish also help repair damaged skin cells. Three servings of fish per week might be needed to get these skin enhancing benefits. But, while tuna and salmon are good choices, you might want to consider limiting swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tile fish as these tend to be high in mercury.

Pink grapefruit
Pink grapefruit is a wonderful source of licopene, an antioxidant which can enhance the skin's natural defense against free radicals by a whopping 33%. But pink grapefruit is not the only good source of licopene. Tomatoes, watermelon, apricots or papaya have similar benefits as they contain important amounts of this powerful compound.

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