All that abundant sunshine in the summer can cause dry skin and hair, eye damage, and other ailments. Find out which vitamins and minerals can counteract sun damage.Summertime, and the living is easy — that is, until you notice the havoc all that fun in the sun has wrought on your body. Fortunately, summer also brings an abundance of tasty and nutritious foods, including berries (loaded with antioxidants), tomatoes, bell peppers (good vitamin C source), and protein-filled grilled fish. And by simply choosing the right ones to add to your daily diet, you can help prevent or alleviate the following common hot-weather woes:
Dry or Damaged Skin
What causes it: You sweat more in the summer, so skin is less supple; plus, saltwater and chlorine have a drying effect. Sunburns and bug bites are also saboteurs of healthy skin.
What to eat:Help heal weathered skin with foods like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, which are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Protein, in the form of lean meats, beans, nuts, and seeds, is also key. Keep dryness at bay by drinking lots of water. Women drink 8-10 cups of water in the summer and men up to 15 cups to prevent dehydration.
What causes it: Overexposure to sun, saltwater, and chlorine.
What to eat: Make a three-bean salad or other protein-rich meal because hair consists of protein fibers called keratin. Eating foods rich in vitamin B-5 (found in yogurt and California avocadoes), vitamin B-8 (in liver and cooked eggs), folic acid (in fortified cereals and beans), calcium (in yogurt), and zinc (in meat and fish) can reduce hair loss and replace dull hair with shiny hair. Theses nutrients also play a role in maintaining healthy skin.
What causes them: Muscle cramps result from overexertion and dehydration. When you don’t have enough fluid in your system, it leads to an electrolyte imbalance that causes your muscles to cramp up. Sodium, calcium, and potassium are the main electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise.
What to eat: Drink water. Potassium-rich foods include, raisins, potatoes, and spinach.
What causes it: Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 55. This occurs when the central part of the retina (macula) becomes damaged.
What to eat: The retina is actually made up of vitamin A. Thus, foods rich in this vitamin — along with beta-carotene, zinc, and Vitamins C and E — are beneficial to the eyes. Good sources are dark green vegetables like kale, chard, and mustard greens, plus bell peppers, carrots, and blueberries.
What causes them: Sun exposure can trigger cold sores in people who are prone to them.
What to eat: The amino acid L-lysine has been shown in some small studies to help, but larger studies are needed to confirm these findings. Deficiency in B vitamins and riboflavin can make you susceptible to cold sores. Taking a B-complex vitamin can help prevent cold sores.