We’re all starting to spend more time outdoors. And that warm summer sun feels oh-so-good—until I remember the damage it
could be wreaking on my skin: 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun.
Protecting yourself from UV radiation can help prevent premature skin aging. Sunscreen is still the first line of defense
against sun damage (experts say slather on an ounce—about a palmful—of SPF 30 or higher and re-apply every 2 hours). And
there’s more you can do—the latest research suggests that three beverages may also deliver nutrients that protect your
skin—as reported by Hillary Gilson in EatingWell Magazine.
Green Tea. New research in the Journal of Nutrition gives us one more reason to sip
this super drink. Women who drank 4 cups of green tea per day for 12 weeks lowered their risk of sunburn by 25 percent, plus
their skin density and elasticity—qualities that make skin look younger—improved. (Welcome news considering that starting in
our twenties, production of collagen—a fiber that keeps skin firm—slows and dead skin cells shed less quickly.) According to
the 2011 study, powerful antioxidants in green tea called catechins absorb UV light, protecting the skin.
Coffee. That morning coffee can do more than boost your energy. A 2011 study out of Harvard
Medical School found that people who drink coffee are less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of
nonmelanoma skin cancer) than those who don’t. Moreover, the risk was lowest for those who drank the most—3 cups a day
lowered risk by 20 percent in women and 9 percent in men. Researcher Fengju Song, Ph.D., thinks the caffeine in coffee helps
reduce potentially cancerous UV-damaged cells by stimulating them to naturally die off.
Red Wine. Although white wine might be your summer sip of choice, preliminary research out of
the University of Barcelona points to a new reason to choose red. Researchers found that proanthocyanidins, antioxidants
found in red grapes, may help prevent oxidative reactions in your skin. Oxidative reactions, often stemming from sun
exposure, can damage and kill cells, which in turn may lead to sunburns, wrinkles and possibly skin cancer. Before you pour
yourself another glass, though, remember that the recommended cap on alcoholic beverages is one a day for women, two for men.