Edible Sunblock!

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Eet Jou Sonskerm!

 

(Scroll down for English version)

 

Die somer is hier en dit is tyd om jou swemklere uit te pak en ook die sonblok te ontplooi. Maar het jy geweet dat die son eintlik baie siektes kan help voorkom, insluitend velkanker? Nadat ons dekades lank vertel is dat die son ons vyand is en dat ons dit ten alle koste moet vermy, klink so iets dalk bietjie vergesog. Tog is daar toenemende bewyse dat blootstelling aan die son baie voordele inhou vir jou gesondheid, selfs meer as die moontlike nadele. Vir dekades al probeer ons velkanker en veroudering a.g.v. sonblootstelling voorkom deur onsself en ons kinders met sonroom te besmeer en buitemuurse aktiwiteite tussen 10:00 en 14:00 so ver moontlik te beperk, maar nou word hierdie ekstreme benadering bevraagteken.

Onvoldoende Vitamien D-produksie is dalk een van die redes waarom sommige studies getoon het dat melanome meer voorkom onder binnenshuise werkers, vergeleke met mense wat buite werk en gereeld blootgestel word aan die son, asook hoër oorlewingsyfers vir melanoom pasiënte wat meer tyd in die son deurgebring het voor hul gediagnoseer is. Vitamien D se kankerbeskermende voordele word nou algemeen aanvaar en baie mense neem dit in tablet-vorm. Die voordele van sonlig vir ons gesondheid is egter waarskynlik meer kompleks as bloot verhoogde Vitamien D produksie. Niels Finsen, Nobelpryswenner vir Medisyne vir sy baanbrekerswerk in fototerapie, was hiervan oortuig so lank terug as die laat 18de eeu. Hy het daarin geslaag om die doeltreffendheid van UV-lig vir veltoestande (veral lupus vulgaris) te demonstreer, maar vandag word ligterapie ook suksesvol gebruik in die behandeling van baie psigiatriese afwykings en gemoedsversteurings.

Sinvolle blootstelling aan die son is die sleutel om baie van die gesondheidsvoordele – wat wissel van hart-gesondheid, beenvorming en ontwikkeling van die brein tot die voorkoming van siektes soos veelvuldige sklerose, tipe 1-diabetes en rumatoïede artritis – te ontgin. Gereelde onbeskermde blootstelling (10-20 minute vir ‘n ligte velkleur en effe langer vir donkerder velle) van liggaamsgedeeltes wat insluit die torso, rug en bene, word nou aanbeveel deur sommige kenners. Aan die ander kant hou oormatige blootstelling geen voordele in nie en bevorder eerder die vorming van vrye radikale, wat selle beskadig en nadelig is vir jou gesondheid. As jy dus die terapeutiese effek van die son wil benut, moet jy ook deeglik bewus wees van die verskil tussen oormatige blootstelling aan die een kant en ʼn gebrek aan sonlig aan die ander, sowel as die risikofaktore verbonde aan albei.

Ten spyte van die toenemende gebruik van sonskerms en gesondheidsveldtogte wat die publiek waarsku teen blootstelling aan die son, toon statistieke dat velkanker aan die toeneem is. Daar word ook bespiegel of bestanddele in sonskermmiddels eintlik meer skade berokken as goed doen. Hieruit blyk dit dat daar meer in steek as om die vel bloot ekstern teen die son te buffer en dit is waar goeie voeding ‘n verskil kan maak. As mens in ag neem dat sonbrand ‘n vorm van inflammasie is, maak dit sin dat ʼn dieet wat ryk is aan anti-oksidante ekstra beskerming kan bied.

Volgens ‘n studie wat gepubliseer is in die Joernaal van Britse Dermatologie, help tamaties en tamatie-gebaseerde produkte om die vel teen die gevolge van langtermyn UV-straling te beskerm, te danke aan die anti-oksidant likopeen. Likopeen is meer gekonsentreerd in gekookte tamaties en produkte soos tamatiepuree en tamatiesous.

Die super anti-oksidant astaxantien, wat voorkom in salm, garnale en alge (en ook aan pienk flaminke hul kleur gee), funksioneer as ‘n ‘interne sonskerm’ en daar is al bewys dat dit UVA-skade help bekamp.

Daar is verdere goeie nuus as jy enigsins na nog verskonings gesoek het om meer pienk salm te eet : ʼn studie wat aan die Universiteit van Manchester gedoen is, het bevind dat die gereelde inname van omega 3-vetsure (afkomstig uit visolie) die vel se immuniteit verhoog en sonskade so wel as velkanker kan help voorkom. Omega 3 is ook volop in lynsaad, tuna en okkerneute.

Resveratrol, wat voorkom in rooiwyn, grondboontjiebotter, bloubessies en kakao, was al baie in die nuus oor die moontlikhede wat dit bied om kanker en hartsiektes te voorkom en ook lewensverwagting te verhoog. Nou is daar ook bewyse dat dit die vel help beskerm teen die nadelige effekte van sonblootstelling en bestraling.

Groen tee word lank reeds beskou as ‘n ryk bron van anti-oksidante, dus is dit geen verrassing dat onlangse studies getoon het dat gereelde inname van hierdie verfrissende drankie die vorming van kwaadaardige gewasse kan inhibeer en ook beskerming bied teen ultraviolet bestraling en veroudering van die vel nie.

Ja, jou ma was reg toe sy gesê het dat jy met alles matigheid voor oë moet hou, maar miskien het sy die voordele van ‘n matige blootstelling aan die son tog onderskat. ‘n Gebalanseerde benadering is die sleutel – wees verstandig deur jou vel vir kort tydjies onbeskermd aan die son bloot te stel maar behou terselfdertyd ʼn gesonde respek vir die nadele van sonbrand en oormatige blootstelling. Sorg ook dat jou dieet voldoende vlakke van anti-oksidante en gesonde vette insluit om jou liggaam se ‘interne sonskerm’ ʼn hupstoot te gee.

 

Eat Your Sunblock

 

Summer is here and it is time to bring out the bathing suits – and the sun block too. But did you know that the sun can actually prevent many health conditions, including skin cancer? After decades of being told that the sun is our enemy and that we should avoid it all costs, this may sound a bit farfetched. Yet mounting evidence suggests that exposure to the sun has many health benefits, some which may far outweigh the risks associated with its rays. For decades now, we have tried to prevent skin cancer and premature aging by dutifully slathering ourselves and our children with sunscreen and by staying indoors between 10am and 2pm as far as possible, but now this extreme approach is being questioned.

Inadequate Vitamin D production may be one of the reasons why some studies have shown an increase in melanoma formation for indoor workers when compared to people who work outside and are regularly exposed to the sun, as well as higher survival rates for melanoma patients who spent more time in the sun before their diagnosis. Vitamin D is now recognized as having cancer protective benefits, which is why many people take it in supplement form. But the benefits of sunlight is probably more complex than mere Vitamin D production, as Niels Finsen, Nobel prize winner for Medicine for his pioneering work on phototherapy, believed as far back as the late 18th century. He was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of UV light on skin conditions (especially lupus vulgaris), but today light therapy is also used successfully in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders.

Being sensible about sun exposure is the key to reaping its many benefits, which range from heart health, bone formation and brain development to the prevention of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Regular unprotected full body exposure (10-20 minutes for fair-skinned people and more if you have darker skin) is now recommended by some experts. At the same time, sunburn or overexposure provides no benefit and creates free radical damage which is also detrimental to overall health, making sunlight a potential double-edged sword. Understanding the difference between over- and underexposure and the risk factors for each is important if you want to use the sun therapeutically.

Despite increased use of sun screens and health programs which warn against sun exposure, statistics for skin cancer are on the increase. There is also speculation as to whether ingredients in sun creams actually do more harm than good so it seems clear that skin cells need more than external protection, which is where good nutrition can make a difference. If one considers the fact that sunburn is a form of inflammation, it follows that a diet which is high in anti-oxidants makes sense by offering some additional protection.

Tomatoes: According to a study published in the Journal of British Dermatology, tomatoes and tomato-based products offer long-term protection against UV-radiation-induced skin damage, due to an anti-oxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is more concentrated in cooked tomatoes and products such as tomato puree and ketchup.

The super-anti-oxidant astaxanthin, which is found in salmon, shrimps and algae and give pink flamingos their colour, acts as an “internal sunscreen” has been shown to protect against UVA damage.

And if you need an excuse to eat more pink salmon, consider that a study at the University of Manchester has found that regular consumption of omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) boosts skin immunity and helps to prevent sun damage and skin cancer.

Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, peanut butter, blueberries and cocoa, has gathered a lot of publicity for its possible anti-cancer, cardio protective, and lifespan enhancing qualities and is now also shown to be a potential photo protective agent.

Green tea has long been hailed as a rich source of anti-oxidants, so it should come as no surprise that recent evidence has shown that regular consumption can inhibit the formation of skin tumours and make you more resistant to ultraviolet radiation and therefore premature skin aging.
Yes, your mother was right about doing everything in moderation, but she might have underestimated the benefits of moderate sun exposure. Having a balanced approach is key – be sensible by regularly spending short amounts of time in the sun to reap its many benefits. At the same time – have a healthy respect for the sun and avoid sunburn by also providing your body with adequate levels of anti-oxidants and healthy fats to boost your “internal sunscreen”.