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Summer Snacks with Skincare in Mind

If we think of health as an artform, then food, exercise, and even medications and medical treatment are tools that we can use to paint the picture of health for our lives. As we learn more about how the body works, we can better choose how best to use the tools that we have to optimize our health.

With the arrival of summer, let’s consider the effects of the sun on our skin as an example of artistic strokes that will help us to avoid becoming a color study (due to tanning and skin damage) over the next few months. 

Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, are natural antioxidants that lend vibrant colors to many fruits and vegetables, including carrots, tomatoes, and leafy greens. Beyond their visual appeal, these compounds offer a range of benefits for skin health.

Research suggests that carotenoids contribute to a healthy complexion by enhancing the skin’s natural sun protection.1 While not a substitute for sunscreen, carotenoids may provide an additional layer of defense against the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, potentially reducing the risk of sunburn and UV-induced skin damage.

When it comes to maintaining healthy and vibrant skin, external skincare products often take center stage. Scientists are finding that carotenoids are added to sunscreens and skin care products to add another layer of external protection.

To reap the skin-nourishing benefits of carotenoids, it is essential to incorporate a colorful array of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Aim for a variety of produce, including carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, kale, and bell peppers, which are rich sources of different carotenoids. Don’t be confused that this is not a list of all orange foods. Plants contain multiple pigments and some are masked by more prominent ones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t present. Chlorophyll, a green pigment, in combination with orange carotenoids make for a darker green leaf color–another artistic stroke of nature.

While dietary intake is crucial, it’s important to note that carotenoids are fat-soluble compounds, meaning their absorption is enhanced in the presence of dietary fats.2 Enjoy carotenoid-rich foods with a healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado, to maximize their bioavailability and potential benefits for your skin.

Embrace a diet rich in carotenoid-packed fruits and vegetables to promote skin health from within. By harnessing the power of these natural antioxidants, you can nourish your skin, combat oxidative stress, and maintain a radiant complexion that shines with vitality.


1. Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Weir, C., Salter-Venzon, D., Gellenbeck, K. W., Leverett, J., & Krutmann, J. (2021). Role of ingestible carotenoids in skin protection: A review of clinical evidence. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 37(6), 490–504.

2. Bera, S., Mitra, R., & Singh, J. (2023). Recent advancement in protected delivery methods for carotenoid: a smart choice in modern nutraceutical formulation concept. Biotechnology & genetic engineering reviews, 1–57. Advance online publication.

This article was part of the June 2023 e-news FRESH Rx. Subscribe for similar content delivered to your inbox monthly.