It’s spring, it’s spring! I waited a long time to say that but it’s here! Despite a recent spate of freezing weather and precipitation, flowers are popping, birds are chirping and the sun is spending much more time shining. Hurray!

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve got bears in my family tree. I’m sure of it. I happily hibernate through the winter and, come spring, I emerge seeking warmth and sunshine and foods picked from the ground, even if I have to buy them from the supermarket. There is nothing like warm weather fruits and vegetables. I eat horribly during the winter, but in the spring, I take advantage of all the good things the earth puts forth. I know I should eat healthy all year round, but cold weather has a way of squashing my better judgment. I should know better – and eat better, all year round. I feel good when my diet consists most of foods from the earth. Which brings me to the point of this post. Did you know that your diet can help protect your skin against sunburn and skin damage? Yes, just as an unhealthy diet can have a negative effect on your skin and health, a healthy diet high in antioxidant-rich foods can help protect your body, even from the sun. Since antioxidants help reduce inflammation and free radicals, loading your diet with them will go a long way towards protecting against sunburn and skin damage as a result of UV rays. connected with Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., a New York City Osteopathic Physician who’s board certified in family and anti-aging medicine for his list of foods that help prevent sun damage.

Now, Dr. Calapai is not saying you should replace the daily use of sunscreen with food. Sunscreen should be as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth, but what you eat can offer additional protection for your skin. So if you’re looking for some ingestible sun protection, add these six doctor-approved sun-friendly foods to your next shopping list.

Skin Care

1. Berries and Stone Fruits

Strawberries, blueberries and cherries contain high levels of vitamin C, which can reduce free radical damage caused by exposure to UV radiation. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen production, important for skin’s youthful appearance. As a bonus, cherries contain melatonin, which protects skin from UV radiation and repairs sunburn damage.



Summer Skin Care

2. Leafy Greens

If it’s green and it’s got leaves, chances are it’s good for sun protection. According to one study, spinach, kale and Swiss chard can reduce the risk of squamous cell skin cancer by 50%. Broccoli is also a good choice: it’s full of sulphoraphane, an antioxidant that helps your cells protect themselves against UV radiation.

Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, sage and rosemary are also packed with free radical-fighting, skin-protecting antioxidants.  


healthy skin diet

3. Red and Orange Produce

The antioxidant lycopene has been shown to protect the skin against sunburn and is at least twice as effective an antioxidant as betacarotene when it comes to blocking UV light. It also helps rid the body of free radicals. Chow down on tomatoes, papaya, guava, red bell peppers and pink grapefruit. Watermelon is an especially good choice: it contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes.


Healthy Skin Diet

4. Micro-algae

Spirulna has been dubbed “the next great superfood,” and for good reason. This micro-algae, along with chlorella, contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which has been shown to protect the skin and eyes against UV radiation. It also fights free radicals and inflammation to prevent sun damage by preventing UV-induced cell damage.

If micro-algae isn’t your cup of tea, you can find this powerful antioxidant in shrimp and salmon.


Healthy Skin Diet

5. Chocolate

As long as it’s dark chocolate you’re eating, you’ll be ingesting plenty of flavanoids, which can improve your skin’s ability to protect against sunburns and other UV-induced issues.

Research found that people who ate about one ounce of high-percentage dark chocolate every day for three months could withstand twice the amount of UVB rays before their skin started to turn red, compared to those who didn’t.


Healthy Skin Diet

6. Green and Black Tea

The myriad health benefits of tea are well known, but it’s nice to know that the cups you’re drinking can also help protect against sun damage. Green and black teas are packed with polyphenols that can help stop cancer development by limiting the blood supply to the cancerous area. Green tea can even help prevent non-melanoma skin cancer by enhancing DNA repair.


About Dr. Calapai

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s. He has worked with Mike TysonMickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham’s, Donal Logue; and is a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at


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