For years, we’ve been told to avoid the sun to prevent skin cancer. Now, experts say a few minutes are actually good for your health! What gives?
“Exposing skin to UV light increases the production of immunity-boosting vitamin D and healing hormones,” explains Michael Holick, M.D. For perks without skin damage.
Go for bright light.
Doctors used to assume the safest time to head outdoors was early morning or late afternoon, but three new studies prove you’ll get a bigger health boost if you soak up 10 minutes of sunshine between 10 am and 3 pm. “That’s when UVB rays — which stimulate vitamin D production — are at their peak,” explains Dr. Holick, author of The Vitamin D Solution. “If you’re only outdoors early or late in the day, your skin isn’t making any vitamin D!”
Enjoy juice with lycopene.
Lazy beach days call for a tasty shot of tomato, watermelon, or guava juice. The pretty hue of these fruits comes from lycopene, which protects DNA from radiation damage from the sun, suggests research at The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Eat sweet seeds.
Snacking on 1⁄2 cup of pomegranate seeds daily could cut your risk of skin aging and skin cancer by as much as 70 percent, suggests research in the journal Molecules. Explains surgeon Rob Miano, M.D., pomegranates are nature’s number-one source of compounds (ellagitannins) that speed skin repair and halt the growth of suspicious cells.
Time your tea.
Sipping 18 ounces of caffeinated coffee or tea daily can cut your skin cancer risk by as much as 40 percent — provided you have at least one mug before exercising. That’s the word from Rutgers University researchers in New Jersey, who say exercise boosts blood flow to skin, doubling the amount of caffeine that can reach (and destroy) suspicious growths.
Check your multi.
A daily multi that contains 25 mg. of zinc can cut your skin cancer risk by 50 percent, Australian scientists say. This essential mineral energizes the white blood cells that kill precancers, plus helps heal sun-kissed skin. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.