Practicing healthy sun habits are easy once you learn the basics. I love the sun, and I believe it has powerful mental and physical healing capabilities. Sun in healthy amounts increases the metabolism, boosts the immune system, activates certain enzymes in our your body, reduces stress, improves your mood and helps your body synthesize Vitamin D. The benefits of the sun are incredible, and you shouldn’t be fearful of getting any natural light on your body, but you must be careful that you don’t overexpose yourself to the sun or else there can be negative repercussions.
I’ve put together a guide for healthy sun habits as well as a simple list of foods for energy that can prevent and actually reverse sun damage. The sun is an extractor, and pulls toxicity to the surface. The more toxic your body and diet, the more detrimental the affects of the sun. By following these general tips and adding these foods to your diet around times of sun exposure, you are sure to stay hydrated, youthful and beautiful.
Sun Basics: Follow these basic tips for healthy sun protection:
1. Plan outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon because the UV rays are the strongest between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
2. Always bring a hat. I use a wide brimmed hat because it protects my scalp, face, chest, and shoulders. For extended periods of time, you want to keep these areas protected to minimize the effects of damaging UV rays.
3. Use a chemical free sunscreen on your face and body. The main chemicals in traditional sunscreens can damage cells, potentially lead to cancer (ironically) and make you age faster. If your current sunscreen contains Benzophenone, Disodium EDTA, Padimate O, or Oxybenzone, get rid of it immediately! Your skin is your largest organ. What you apply to your skin gets absorbed into your body and blood stream. That includes the ingredients in your sun lotions. These ingredients found in traditional sunscreens can become oxidized by UV rays and create free radicals, aging you while also possibly promoting the growth of cancerous cells as they damage your DNA. Instead, use a chemical-free sunscreen that uses zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and natural minerals to shield the sun rays. Popular bands are Jason and Burt’s Bees. Apply Sunscreen 15-20 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every couple hours to ensure protection.
Note: I personally like to get 20 minutes of sun directly onto my skin without any sunscreen, to get the benefits of the light. This may not be right for you, so many you only get a few minutes or 5 minutes of natural light. The sun is the giver of all life. Yes in excess it can be harmful, but I don’t think people should be scared of ever getting any light on their skin, either, especially if their diet is high in antioxidant-rich plant foods and low in toxic foods like dairy and polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
Foods that mix well with the sun:
In addition to preventative measures, there are also foods that can help save your skin from the negative side effects of the sun. In many cases, these foods can help reverse the damage that has already been done. Increase your intake of these foods during and after a long day in the sun and see the difference.
1. Leafy greens- Leafy greens such as leeks, artichokes, broccoli, kale, romaine, spinach, cilantro, celery and parsley are optimal for preventing and repairing sun damage. You will get a handsome amount of absorbable minerals, protective antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients from a Glowing Green Smoothie each morning for breakfast.
2. Watermelon (and other red fruits)- Watermelon, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit and tomato all contain licopene, an antioxidant which can enhance the skin’s natural defense against free radicals by 35%. These fruits act as refreshing and hydrating snacks on an empty stomach.
3. Dark Chocolate- Cacao beans may help reduce your skin’s sensitivity to sun rays. Finding a chocolate with a high cacao content will mean more benefits. Or, try raw cacao powder for a twist on the traditional treat, like my Raw Cacao Truffles. Conveniently, it is packed with antioxidants, so makes for a good occasional treat.
4. Seeds- Seeds like flax, chia and hemp seeds are high in beneficial in essential fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help prevent sunburns and fight inflammation. Additionally, the easily assimilated amino acids and antioxidant in seeds can help repair damaged skin cells, resulting in optimal repair and healing of your body from all environmental conditions.
5. Tea- Having 1-2 cups of tea each day will help your skin heal from the inside out and give your skin the capability to reverse prior sun damage. One of my favorite types of tea is rooibos teas. Remember, we want to limit yerba mate and avoid green tea completely. In The Enzyme Factor, Dr. Hiromi Shinya points out that in Japan the rate of stomach cancer is very high, which he theorizes is linked to the high consumption of green tea in there, which contains tannic acids, caffeine, and agricultural chemical remnants that may irritate and inflames the gastric mucus lining of the stomach. Stick to all-natural, organic herbal or caffeine-free blends.
Always avoid sunburn, because it can damage your skin and lead to skin diseases. The sun is only healthy in doses where it does not cause a burn. If you notice your skin turning pink, then throw on a cover up, get in some shade and cool it. Most of you may not know that high-fat diets cause you to burn more easily in the sun than low-fat diets. This is especially true of vegetable oils, which become rancid very easily. Those French fries cooked in canola healthy are really not a good idea. You will find that adding raw foods into your diet (foods that are not heated above 118 degrees) will impact how easily you burn.
If you have fairer skin, or do burn in the sun, up your water intake. We lose more water when we’re out in the sun and our bodies will need the extra fluid when healing our skin from the burn. The most effective and natural pain reliever is natural aloe vera gel. Aloe has anti-inflammatory characteristics and is used as a healing agent. I recommend using a pure aloe vera gel that is fresh and devoid of unnatural preservatives and chemicals. If you live in California or a place with a similar climate, maybe you can even grow your own aloe and squeeze it out fresh from the leaves!
What are your best tips for healthy sun habits?
Can Chia seeds be sprinkled over a salad? Or must it always be mixed with water to form a gel first?
This is great!! I’ve been confused about all the hype about “sunlight cause cancer!!” thing, but these tips are great without smothering my face with chemical-laden cosmetics.
I think hats are the best idea; same goes for the shawls that cover your face.
Food wise, I know a traditional sun habit in Korea. It is to dry your foods! For instance, my mom told me when you sun-dry radishes, the calcium and other vitamin/mineral contents of it doubles! Just how amazing is our sun? hehe
Thank you SO much for this useful information, Kimberly! You have truly changed my life with your advice and your new book! I use Obagi Healthy Skin Protection with SPF 35 sunscreen which is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation….one of the inactive ingredients is “disodium edetate” should I stop using it??
This is so refreshing! I also feel that being out in the sun is so therapeutic and has many benefits. Yes, we need to be safe and protect ourselves but so many people go overboard and they either never get out in the sun or their skin never sees the light of day. Using these tips to protect yourself allows you to still enjoy all of the immense mental and physical benefits from the sun. As a side note, read your book and LOVED it!
I’m so glad you wrote this guide! I finally started enjoying my time in the sun this past summer after years of trying to avoid sunlight because of all the negative things that are said about it. This guide is tremendously helpful to me. I was confused about sunscreen and if they were all toxic or if any of them were even safe to use.
I have a question about certain pasteurized items that are considered healthy. Namely, store-bought packaged almond milk and bottled aloe vera juice (pure and unsweetened of course, which I assume is pasteurized, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve seen that on labels). Do these foods provide any actualhealth benefits? I sometimes drink aloe vera juice to help me with digestion. Also, I regularly use store-bought almond milk because I can’t afford to buy raw almonds and I don’t have the proper equipment. Are these at all acid-forming or mucus-forming? I know that pasteurized fruit juices and smoothies are acid-forming from reading your blog. Thanks Kim!!
Hello, I love your book and the blog! I have read that you recommend using coconut oil as lotion for the body but I have become completely allergic to it… hives, rash. I just got back from my allergist who patch tested me on my request, and low and behold coconut was the culprit. Now I must avoid all coconut products… I have been eating it fresh, the oil and the flour too. I am sad… I know coconut has wonderful benefits but not for me. Would you please give me some advice. I just saw you in the Los Angeles Daily News Health section, and in Harper’s Bazar, congrates! Please keep up the good work.
Kimberly, I recently developed wrinkles around my eyes that stay after I stop smiling : ( I love to smile, : ) any advice? Thanks, kdot
I thought Green Tea was a powerful anti-aging antioxidant! I have read that drinking Green Tea is extremely good for you! I am so confused now. Is there a healthy alternative or brand of it that I should be getting?
Do you have any natural teeth whitening tips?
Eating carrots has helped me avoid sunburn. Whenever I’m not able to eat carrots, I drink carrot juice instead!
I have one question though: how should we wash our vegetables and fruits? Is water enough or should we include a special fruit/vegetable cleanser?
You mention that nutritional yeast is good, in the previous entry and also in your book.
I was wondering what your take on brewer’s yeast was?
Hi! I follow your blog, have read your book, and continue to learn from you even though I have faithfully practiced proper food pairing and “fruit only on an empty stomach” for years. I am vegan and eat mostly raw foods. (It is great to see the principles I learned over twenty years ago finally becoming mainstream through your outstanding work!)
I appreciate this particular post because I’m fair-skinned and have limited my sun exposure especially in the past fifteen years. However, I often wondered why animals naturally “sun” themselves, but we have been taught to shun the sun.
During those fifteen years, I have noticed a gradual development of “sun” or “age” spots on the backs of my hands, upper arms, and backs of my legs. I have read (and you corroborate) that these spots are signs of a toxic liver, but I cannot understand why my liver would be so toxic since I have been following a healthy diet for years.
I am incorporating the new things I have learned from your book and from this blog. However, I’m often mystified why other people my age who I know have toxic diets, use toxic substances on their skin, and “live” in the sun, seem to be free of these spots. Could there also be a hereditary factor that contributes to their formation? (I remember my mom having these “age” spots on her arms even though her skin was darker.)
I truly believe that so many of our health problems today stem from the SAD (Standard American Diet). Thanks, Kim, for sharing all your valuable information.
Can you suggest a good sunscreen that isn’t greasy? I have yet to find one that does not make my face look shiny and makes a horrible base for make up!
I noticed you never mentions cantelope or honey dew in the recipes…why ?
Great entry. I love hearing from someone with a balanced view regarding sun exposure. I’ve found that eating raw foods and limiting medications greatly help me avoid sunburn. I also use non-chemical sun screens, like Burts’s Bees, CosMedix and Cotz brands.
I have a lingering question for you after reading The Beauty Detox Solution (which I love and am reading a 2nd time!) When can I eat your delicious nut-based desserts? I’m afraid to eat them after a veggie/starch dinner, but it feels really heavy to have them after a nut pate/veggie dinner. Can you please advise?
Thanks for all you do! You book and blog have become my daily diet inspiration!
I am wondering what type of body soap/cleaners are best. I am new to the blog and incorporating many of your recommendations with great success.
Thanks for sharing!
coconut oil mixed with CoQ10 and Vitamin C
underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.
During the past decades doctors have become increasingly aware of the increase in skin cancer in the United States and that all people need to protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation (UV). The harm caused by UV includes premature aging (such as wrinkling and age spots), skin cancer, and permanent, sometimes blinding, damage to eyes.*”*^
I real pleased to find this web site on bing, just
what I was looking for 😀 too saved to bookmarks.
Welcome…and thank you so much for sharing your feedback. Lots of love and support! 😉