While getting out into the sun does provide some health benefits, such as higher vitamin D levels, for the most part sun bathing and excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is not so good. It can cause health problems like:
- rapid premature aging,
- skin damage
- skin cancer (melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma)
- damage to the eyes (cataract development)
- suppression of the immune system
The answer to a truly healthy tan may come from an unlikely source: your diet. Surprisingly, a healthy diet of vegetables rich in carotenoids can, it turns out, help you get that golden glow.
Role of Carotenoids
Carotenoids are a class of naturally occurring molecules that provide the yellow, orange, and red coloring of many fruits and vegetables, including carrots and tomatoes. They are a natural source of vitamin A and other naturally occurring antioxidant compounds.
Vitamin A and other carotenoids are essential:
- For proper growth and development of the body.
- For maintenance and strengthening of the immune system.
- For antioxidant protection of our cells that become damaged by UV radiation and reactive oxygen species.
Without the antioxidant protection provided by essential nutrients such as carotenoids, cellular damage could potentially run rampant, causing aged-looking skin and, worse, unwanted cellular mutation. This type of damage is often the first step in the development of numerous diseases, including cancer.
Eating fruits and vegetables with high carotenoid levels is actually beneficial for a healthy tan. .
So, ultimately the quest for achieving a healthy glow no longer requires long hours basking beneath the skin-cancer inducing rays of the sun, or lying under the damaging UV-lights of a tanning bed, or even using artificial tanning spray. You can eat your way to that golden glow by incorporating your daily bright colored fruits and vegetables.
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