Finally summer! After months and months of lockdown, we all want to enjoy the sun, the sea and the typical tan of summer.
While it is essential a progressive approach to the sun’s rays and a careful use of protective creams, to have a uniform color and healthy, without damaging the skin, We can resort to foods and microelements that are valuable allies to achieve our goal.
In this article we will examine the most important micronutrients to facilitate tanning and we will highlight in which foods to find them.
What is tanning and how does it work?
Let’s first try to understand what tanning is and how it works. The term tan c refers to the phenome of darkening the skin following exposure of ultraviolet (UV) rays. It’s a process of adaptation and protection from the sun’s rays (radiation) that’s located inside the melanocytes, specific cells located inside the epidermis. Melatocytes produce melanin, a pigment that leads, in fact, to a darkening of the skin color. The sun is therefore an activator of melanin but, be careful, it leads the cells to produce as many as they can (based on genetic predisposition).
For this reason, individual tanning levels are very different as well as the possibility of sunburn (excessive exposure to sunlight).
The micronutrients that contribute to abronzatura are mainly of two types:
- Antioxidants, to protect us from UV rays and the resulting oxidative stress.
- Pigments, to promote a faster skin pigmentation with equal UV radiation to which we are subjected.
Getting a good tan with as little exposure as possible is the healthiest and most affordable solution.
Carotenoids are natural pigments responsible for the red/orange and yellow colour of food. We can count hundreds of different types: the most important and known is probably beta-carotene.
The carotenoids are able to intervene in the tanning processes favoring the obtaining of a darker complexion of our skin in a natural way. They also have an important antioxidant function and protector of the immune system. As the name "carotenoids" suggests, such pigments are available in carrots but also in pumpkins, apricots, tomatoes, peppers etc. They are also found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage!
Vitamin A is also a compound that can help in tanning processes. In truth, carotenoids themselves act as its precursor.
Vitamin A belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins and, as such, can be accumulated in the liver, with the advantage of not having to be consumed regularly but at the same time with the disadvantage of its potentially harmful excess.
We can find Vitamin A in foods of animal origin, especially in liver, eggs and milk and dairy products. As said before, having carotenoids as precursors, consumption of these foods is not essential. We can also obtain it from the latter in a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Consuming within the week a right amount of animal products is however advisable for a more varied and balanced diet, but be careful where it comes from! Always choose products that do not come from intensive farms!
Vitamin C deserves several articles in order to deepen all its benefits and its importance. It also plays a role in tanning processes by acting as an antioxidant and fighting the free radicals generated by sun exposure, which, let’s remember, is an important stress for our body and for the epidermis, in particular.
Vitamin C also promotes the formation of collagen, an essential element for our epidermis! You can find it in abundance in fruits and vegetables, oranges, lemon, strawberries, kiwi. - they are all foods rich in this nutrient as well as being fresh and ideal for the summer! –.
Zinc also participates in the formation of collagen as well as having an important function as an antioxidant to protect our skin (again, tanning is a reaction to an important stress!).
We can find zinc, in particular, in grains and legumes - so let’s not deprive ourselves of these elements in our diet! -. We can use them to prepare fresh salads or delicious side dishes!
It is not a microitem but it should definitely be mentioned. Water is essential to keep your skin hydrated and your anabolic body cells.
Drinking at least 2-3 litres of water per day is important, especially considering that sun exposure tends to dry out the skin and hot summers lead to increased sweating and fluid loss.
After all, the rules for obtaining a healthy and complete tan are no different from those for a balanced diet.
Let’s make sure we eat plenty of fruit and vegetables every day, drink enough water and consume the right amount of animal products - in the absence of specific contraindications -.
We include cereals and legumes in our diet, dried fruits and extra virgin olive oil (rich in Vitamin E and omega9) and so we face summer in the best way and with a bright and healthy skin!