September may be coming but that doesn't mean it's time to put your sun protection away. In fact, with the abundance of our late summer harvest, you can use local produce to protect yourself against anti-aging and UV exposure. I'm not kidding, you can actually eat (err drink) your way to healthier, supple skin!
Research suggests that lycopene in abundant in watermelon which happens to be one of my favourite summer fruits! In addition to its ability to attack free radicals, it may also reduce inflammation and cholesterol, improve immune function, and prevent blood from clotting. It is also a carotenoid phytonutrient that's especially important for our cardiovascular health, and an increasing number of scientists now believe that lycopene is important for bone health as well. Best of all (for your skin that is) lycopene has been shown to protect your skin from UV damage and sunburn.
Because I have trouble going through a whole watermeIon on my own, I freeze chunks of it and put them in my smoothies each morning! Not just a sweet treat for little kids, there are endless ways to enjoy this delicious hydrating fruit.
Upping your daily vitamin C levels can greatly help protect your cells from free radical damage. It also helps your body with the absorption of other key nutrients as well as stimulating white blood cells to fight infection. Besides lemon, limes, oranges and grapefruit, strawberries are also a good source of vitamin C.
SSS (aka Skin Saving Smoothie)
4 large cubes frozen watermelon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (substitute with lime, orange or grapefruit if you don't have a lime around)
2 ice cubes
Optional: garnish with a sprig of fresh mint
Blend watermelon, strawberries, lemon juice and ice in a blender. Pour into your glass and add a sprig of mint for a little extra zest.
And remember, it's actually healthy to get some daily sun exposure, at least 20 minutes a day (preferably outside of peak sun hours) so you can build up vitamin D levels and a natural tolerance to the sun!