Be Summer Savvy: 5 foods to reverse the sun damage.

3 min read

Is summer your choice of the season? Are you one of those people who takes out their gears and goes trekking on sunny days? Or are you someone who hides in the darkest of dungeons during summer months?! Whether you are a summer person or not, truth is that we can’t completely escape the Sun or avoid the damage it inflicts!

Now if you are a summer savvy person, you know the dangers of UV overexposure! And if you are not one, you should Get into the habit of checking the UV index daily.

UV exposure has shown to cause Photo-aging or premature skin aging. What causes the premature aging is the formation of free radicals. UV photons promote the formation of free radicals. These free radicals damage skin cells by attacking cell DNA, breaking down collagen and elastin fiber..because of this, skin loses strength and elasticity, it starts sagging and forming wrinkles thus we look older 🙁

Free radicals (a.k.a Bad Guys)

Are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules and they can cause damage by interacting with DNA or the cell membrane( can read rest of Rice Uni’s definition yourself here). Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Free radicals are the BAD guys that are out to harm our skin cells!!

Now the story isn’t all grim, silver lining is that there are agents called antioxidants that can combat the free radicals…

Antioxidants (a.k.a The Scavengers)

There are many antioxidants out there but the principle ones are Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and Vitamin E.

As a Dietitian, my Top 5 picks for foods rich in antioxidants are-

Number 1. Guava

This “non-novelty” fruit is easily found in abundance in almost all tropic countries. Though native to Central and South America. (Peru is… what guava is called in Maharashtra. Coincidence?!)One Guava fruit contains twice as much vitamin C as a Kiwi fruit and 5 times more than of an orange! So…thinking of purchasing that expensive Vit C supplement, why not try a guava fruit instead?

How to eat it: This is a no fuss food. Just wash, cut and eat it 🙂

Number 2. Indian Plums

Also known as Indian Jujube or Ber in Hindi is a fruit that is absolutely inexpensive and is loved by people of all ages and all classes!

This specific fruit is a great source of not one but three kinds of antioxidant compounds i.e. Vit C, Phenolics and Flavonoids. The combination of these 3 is what makes this fruit a true “Superfruit”. And did I mention how inexpensive it is? (Point is, healthy does not have to be unaffordable!)

How to eat it: Straight up, wash, cut and eat

Number 3. Amla/Indian Gooseberry

Amla fruit is one of the best sources of vitamin C known to the mankind. This fruit is being used in Ayurvedic system of medicine for thousands of years and is revered as the earthly form of the elixir (Amrit) itself

1 Amla fruit has almost 20 times more vitamin C than that of an orange! Still, Amla is my third best pick and that is because it is extremely sour/astringent in taste and rarely (if ever) is eaten straight as it is!

Find out 7 easy ways of eating Amla Here

Number 4. Sweet Potatoes

Not the whit flesh ones..the ones with the orange flesh; these are rich in beta carotene. Richer than carrots, tomatoes, squash and spinach!! Not only that, it is also packed with other antioxidants like Vitamin C, anthocyanins and are a great source of dietary fiber as well.

So what are you waiting for, gather your favorite summer vegetables, thrown in some grilled sweet potatoes and a dressing of your choice and you have got yourself a healthylecious salad. Check out this Southwestern grilled sweet potato salad Recipe

And the last and the best Number 5. Mango

Being delicious is no sin! I just do not understand why do people blame Mangoes for their blood sugar and weight issues (portion control people..portion control!) Mango is the best thing that has happened to mankind.. I truly believe that.

Mango is on this list due to its beta-carotene content…Now it may not be as high as that of Sweet potatoes and Cantaloupes but it has more than just beta-carotene; it is a very good source of Vitamin C and a significant source of Vit E as well.

A cup full of mango pieces provide enough Vitamin C to meet your daily requirement of the nutrient.

That was my top 5 antioxidant picks. I considered things like season, availability, affordability and taste were given equally important as of their antioxidant content while picking them…

Now, what are your top antioxidant picks? Leave the reply down below…

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Soniya Nikam, MS, RD.

Soniya Nikam, MS, RD.

She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master's Degree in Nutrition but she is not your "I know it all Nutrition Guru!"; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten :)

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