Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. These highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction once they are formed. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. However, the body does not have quite enough antioxidants to fight free radical overload completely.
Free radicals are all of the pollutions that we are faced with everyday; toxins, the sun, air pollution, cigarette smoke, etc..
This is why daily sunscreen is made important, and you see all of these creams that reduce lines and wrinkles. The problem with these are that they are all topical. They don't penatrate the skin deep enough, so there are no long-term or permanent affects. The only way to truly prevent any cell damage is from the inside out.
Antioxidants are of course great for your whole body, but some antioxidant foods are better for your skin, so take note.
Tomatoes are probably the most effective food you could eat to help prevent sun damage to your skin. * a slice of pizza (with red sauce) could reduce the risk of sunburn by 33%! This is also equal to a 1/2 cup of V8 juice or 6 tablespoons of salsa. The more tomatoes you can put into your diet, the more protection you will have from those UV aging and cancer causing rays. Meaning, an inside shield to wrinkles, inflammation and age spots.
KEEP NOTE: Lycopene is the most potent anti-oxidant.
A diet rich in anti-oxidants is very important to the health of your skin. They will help fight against these nasty 'free-radicals' that promote wrinkles, sagging, age spots and sun damage, and even more exciting for some... antioxidant rich food can also reverse damage that is already done :)
Keep these foods in mind next time you are at the grocery store or cooking in your kitchen:
LYCOPENE: found in red fruits and vegetables. Red peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.
BETA-CAROTENE: found in orange vegetables and leafy greens. Carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cantaloupe, spinach, kale, collard greens, and romaine lettuce.
FLAVONOIDS: found in berries, onions, tea, and! - Dark Chocolate :)
VITAMIN C: oranges, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, red peppers, brussel sprouts, kale, and broccoli.
VITAMIN E: nuts, eggs, leafy greens, avacados, and whole grains.