I love the summer. As soon as the sun starts shining and the temperature gets about 15 degrees, I spend as much time outside as possible. However we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad for us, and too much sun can result in nasty sunburns.
Those of us with SCI are more susceptible to sunburns for several reasons, such as lack of movement and sensation, reduced circulation, the common tendency towards poor diet and the intake of antibiotics. While it makes sense to spray on sunscreen to protect yourself, I’m weary of using too much of this stuff because it often contains harmful ingredients and prevents our bodies from absorbing vitamin D. This vitamin is essential to maintaining bone health and due to our high risk of developing osteoporosis, it is critical that people with SCI get enough of this sunshine vitamin (15-20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen is all you need to get your daily dose).
So instead of slathering on sunscreen, eat it instead! Vibrant coloured foods contain compounds that help protect them from sun damage, and in turn do the same for us when we eat them - especially ones that are yellow and orange. So help protect your skin from the inside by incorporating these delicious foods into diet as much as you can this summer!
Tomatoes (cooked are even better because more protective lycopene is released)
Orange and yellow peppers
Dark berries, such as blueberries & blackberries
Dark chocolate too!