Gone Green for Health
by Renee Barron
In my last my column, we talked about the importance of getting vitamin D from the sun. This column will focus on chemical-free sunscreens and foods rich in vitamin D.
Darker-skinned people need at least an hour per day in the sun, if not more, but they also should use sunscreens and sun blocks. Chemical-based sunscreens and sun blocks have the following hazardous ingredients: para amino benzoic acid, octyl salicyclate, avobenzone, oxybenzone, cinoxate, padimate, dioxybenzone, phenylbenzimidazole, homosalate, sulisobenzone, menthyl anthranilate, trolamine salicyclate, and octocrylene. These chemicals in themselves cause cancer and other health-related problems before you even get out into the sun.
Here are some natural sources of sun protection.
• Shea butter contains cinnamic acid, which is a natural sunscreen and offers an SPF of six.
• Macadamia oil and hemp seed oil both have an SPF of six.
• Sesame seed oil has an SPF of four.
• Red raspberry seed oil reportedly has an SPF equal to that of titanium dioxide at around 28-50.
• Wheat germ oil has an SPF of two.
• Coconut oil protects the body from sunburn and skin cancer without blocking the beneficial UV radiation. Coconut oil doesn’t rely on blocking out the sun’s rays; it works by preventing free-radical reactions, which lead to all the consequences caused by overexposure to the sun. So the SPF number of coconut oil is meaningless.
• Aloe Vera gel: Aloe sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays, but it does something else that most sunscreens don’t; it moisturizes, nourishes and balances the skin too. Combining modern science with natural ingredients, aloe sunscreen helps to soothe, lubricate, moisturize and protect the skin against sunlight and wind. Aloe Vera gel is also a natural sunscreen, as is eating mangoes and other tropical fruits.
• Virgin organic coconut oil: Use it directly on your skin and face, let it absorb into your skin, and you have UV protection.
• St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has an interesting reputation. It is considered to cause photosensitivity when taken internally, yet it is often used as a sunscreen externally. This is as an herbal-infused oil, herbalist Susun Weed says.
Vitamin D-rich foods
The sun is not the only source of vitamin D. There are foods that are rich in vitamin D as well.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include dandelion greens, chanterelle, and buckwheat greens. Chaga, reishi and shiitake mushrooms and sweet potatoes all contain vitamin D.
Consuming more antioxidants can really protect skin. A study published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutrition found that women who consumed a concentrated cocoa beverage rich in antioxidant flavanols had a reduced amount of skin roughness and scaling after exposure to UV light compared to women who consumed a cocoa beverage with a minimal amount of flavanols.
The higher amount of antioxidant flavanols in the concentrated beverage provided more UV protection. The recommendation is to eat tropical fruits and consume green and white tea and raw cocoa drinks and smoothies.
Here are also some vitamin D-rich recipes:
Lawd Have Mercy Greens (living plant protection)
2 bunches of collards
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 bunch kale
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1 small bunch dandelion greens
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
1/3 tbsp. Braggs amino
Spices (suggestions garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, tumeric, and/or cayenne)
Roll and cut bunches of leaves with a kitchen scissors (easier than a knife to me, and you can cut the leaves thinner); chop and dice onion and tomato really small. Add apple cider vinegar, oil and spices and hand mix until everything is evenly spread out.
The recipe calls for this to sit in the refrigerator overnight, but we ate the first batch up right away. So good! But I did another batch overnight and you could not tell that they were not cooked…at all!
Rich Raw Cacao Smoothie (protection from the inside out)
1 tbsp. chaga mushroom powder
1 tbsp. reishi mushroom powder
8-10 ounces of organic soy, nut milks (almond, hemp seed, etc.)
1/8 tsp. or pinch of cayenne
1 ripe banana or plantain
1 cup frozen mango/pineapple or tropical fruit of your choice
Agave syrup, raw honey, coconut flakes or maple syrup to taste
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy a super-food smoothie for maximum nutrition!
I hope these recipes will help you as much as they did me. Peace and blessings!
Renee Barron welcomes reader responses to [email protected]