There are many beliefs (some false and others not) about food and its properties. One of the most widespread is that eating orange foods can help you tan, but is it true?

It is scientifically proven that having a healthy and balanced diet is the key to good health (also of the skin), but can diet go further? For example, there is a belief that if you eat a lot of carrots or orange foods you can get a tan, what is true about this?

“Getting a tan is a protective response of our skin against exposure to solar radiation. During sun exposure, the formation of melanin is activated (pigment that gives color to our skin) in the melanocytes found in the basal layer of the epidermis. The lighter a person’s skin is, the more easily it will burn in front of the sun, since its response capacity in the formation of melanin is much lower and slower. The lightest skins do not tan, and they always burn. The higher the phototype (skin color scale), i.e. the darker the skin tone, the quicker tanning occurs, and there is less risk of sunburn”

Sun protection prevents sunburn, but it does not prevent tanning, so using a good photoprotector every day we can also tan, although more slowly, but safely. To have adequate nutrition that benefits our skin, we must eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids such as omega 3 present in oily fish and other foods.

Vitamin A is probably the vitamin that contributes the most to maintaining healthy skin and helping tanning, as it favors the development of pigments in the skin.

beta-carotene or precursor of vitamin A does not accumulate, that is, the body only absorbs the amount it needs and the rest is discarded. “As vegetable sources of provitamin A we find pumpkin, mandarin orange, tomato, apricots, carrots, spinach, egg yolk, spirulina algae and germinated alfalfa”

It is important to point out that “if we are not exposed to sunlight, these foods do not increase the level of tanning”. This means that “the fact of eating a lot of carrots or many products that contain beta-carotene is not going to make us brown”

“Foods do not make us tan, what makes us tan in a healthy way is to prepare the skin against the sun’s rays”

It is true that some foods that are very rich in beta carotene such as carrots “can cause a yellowish color in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet if they are consumed in an excessive way”, but only these parts of the body. For this reason, the consumption of

“At least 5 pieces of fruit and/or vegetables of this type in summer is recommended to help our skin protect itself from the sun”. A good way to do it is through the “consumption of gazpacho or salads”

Foods we should eat

The skin is continually exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the leading cause of skin disorders such as sunburn, sun damage, and skin cancer. Micronutrients “can act as UV absorbers, as antioxidants or can modulate the signaling pathways caused by exposure to UV rays”

Among others, the experts points out “carotenoids, tocopherols, vitamin C, flavonoids or n-3 fatty acids (omega 3) that provide dietary protection, which helps maintain resistance as part of lifelong protection” .

As for what foods these products can be found in, Cornejo points out:

  • As vegetable sources of provitamin A we find pumpkin, tangerine, tomato, apricots, carrots, spinach, egg yolk, spirulina algae and germinated alfalfa.
  • Vitamin C, for its part, is very necessary for the health of the skin, since it activates its defenses and intervenes in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that makes up the skin tissue and gives it support. Citrus fruits, papaya, fresh parsley, raw bell peppers, kiwis, and strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin E is the antioxidant vitamin par excellence, it protects and helps improve cell tissue, effectively counteracts aging, helps improve blood circulation, a determining factor for skin health, points out Cornejo. Vitamin E is found mainly in vegetable oils, in the germ of whole grains, sunflower seeds, almonds and walnuts. Samaniego recalls “the importance of always eating them raw or toasted, without salt or sugar”. Other foods with vitamin E are green leafy vegetables, spinach, chard, lettuce or broccoli, and avocado.
  • Fatty acids meanwhile favor the fact that the tan lasts longer. They are usually found in vegetable oils -especially olive oil-, oily fish (sardines, anchovies, sea bass, mackerel, etc.) and in dried fruits. Also, add Samaniego, salmon, chia seeds, walnuts and avocado.

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