It’s summer and the sun is shining (hopefully!), which means that you’re probably reaching for the SPF 50 and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays.

But it’s not just UV from the strong summer sun that can cause skin damage and premature aging.

Free radicals are harmful and unstable molecules that can damage your cells. Factors including poor diet, excessive alcohol, cigarette smoke, stress, pollution and exposure to UV rays can cause free radicals to excessively form in your body.

What does this mean for my body?

When the number of free radicals in your body outweighs the amount of antioxidants, this leads to oxidative stress which can damage the cells in your body, including your skin.

Free radicals can attack the proteins in your skin including collagen and lipids. The damage can lead to premature aging in the form of wrinkles, dry skin and skin damage.

How can I protect my skin?

Antioxidants. Antioxidants are key to help protecting your body against free radicals and the harmful effects of oxidative stress.

Eating foods abundant in antioxidants can prevent free radicals from damaging collagen in the skin and help to protect your skin against UV damage.

If you want to look after your skin, here are 5 nourishing superfoods and recipes to eat this summer.

  • Acai Powder – Acai contains 3 times your daily requirement of manganese which protects the body from oxidative stress. This super berry is also a source of vitamin A which helps to nourish the skin. Add Acai Powder to Granola Bars or to a smoothie bowl.
  • Cacao Powder – The plant compounds in raw cacao powder can boost the production of collagen in your skin. Try our deliciously fugdy Cacao Lucuma Brownies for an indulgent treat.
  • Goji Berries – These small berries contain beta-carotene, which is packed with anti-aging properties. Add Goji Berries to Cacao Energy Balls or use as a topping on a smoothie bowl.
  • Wheatgrass Powder – The green powder is a good source of vitamin A which contributes to maintaining healthy skin, perfect for adding to a refreshing juice.
  • Spirulina Powder – This freshwater blue-green algae is incredibly nutrient-rich and has anti-inflammatory properties. Our Cleansing Spirulina Soup is a refreshing addition to any summer menu or detox.

To protect your skin this summer and combat the effects of premature aging, don’t forget to protect your skin with sunscreen and nourish your body with plenty of nutritious foods.