Many of us look forward to the summer because we can get that sun-kissed, (healthfully) tanned look. But, while the sun absolutely contributes to darker skin tone, it is the carotenoids we ingest from fruits and vegetables that increase the yellow hues and make our complexions “glow.” In fact, studies have also shown that having these elements in our diets actually protects the skin from sun damage.
Carotenoids, such as beta carotene and lycopene, are pigments found in plants that absorb light for photosynthesis and protect against photo-damage. It makes sense then that, when eaten by animals, they offer similar protective functions. They have powerful antioxidant activity that is instrumental in the alleviation of disease, reduction of aesthetic signs of aging and protection of the eyes and skin.
But what is especially interesting is carotenoids’ cosmetic value. These pigments, found in greatest concentrations in warm-colored fruits and vegetables, contribute to a natural, golden look.
Eating or drinking fruits and vegetables is the only way to ingest carotenoids and, while this consumption is extremely important for overall health and beauty at all times of the year, it is especially important to focus on carotenoid-rich foods when you may be exposing your skin to the sun.
Here is one of my favorite carotenoid-rich juices for summer:
1 medium-sized organic sweet potato
1 medium-sized organic beet with greens (or one medium-sized beet with 2 large organic kale leaves)
½ organic lemon
1 medium-sized organic apple
1. Chop vegetables and fruit into 1-inch pieces.
2. Juice in list order.
3. Drink immediately.