It's the perfect summer day. The sun shines brightly in a clear blue sky and you're off for a stroll in the park, a picnic at the beach, a hike in the mountains, or a canoe trip on the lake. Or perhaps you're staying home to lounge around the pool or work in the garden. Whatever your fancy, one thing is certain: There's simply nothing more enlivening to both body and mind than a gorgeous sunny day. Just feeling the warmth on your skin has the power to replenish your energy, nourish your body, and uplift your spirits.
As inviting as the sunshine may be, however, it's become somewhat of a guilty pleasure in recent decades, largely due to the dangers of overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. As we've all learned, UV rays can harm our skin, causing wrinkles, dullness, roughness, thickening of the epidermis, chronic redness, freckles, age spots, and, of course, skin cancer. The sun can also damage the lens and retina of our eyes, thus leading to light sensitivity, decreased vision, and unsightly cataracts.
While it's essential to put on a hat and plenty of SPF 45, there are other protective measures that can be taken. One of the most important is consuming more antioxidants. You see, UV rays create free radicals in the body, which attack your cells, damaging both the health and the appearance of your skin and eyes. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals, stopping and even reversing damage to the cells. This results in smoother, softer, younger-looking skin. In fact, many sunscreens, moisturizers, and anti-aging creams now contain antioxidants as more and more scientific studies show their effectiveness. And when it comes to your eyes, antioxidants keep free radicals under control, thereby preserving your vision and preventing a host of eye problems.
Drinking plenty of fresh juice is one of the easiest and most pleasurable ways to load up on antioxidants. Fruits and veggies are concentrated with antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamins C and E. Your complexion will also benefit from the silicon, selenium, sulfur, zinc, and other trace minerals present in health-giving juices. Many green vegetables and sprouts also contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient for maintaining elasticity and firmness in the skin. In addition, greens are especially rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown in studies to protect the eyes from UV damage and prevent cataracts.
While consuming an abundance of antioxidants will definitely help keep your skin and eyes healthy and glowing, there are other ways to protect your body from harmful sunrays. A good sunscreen is essential. Experts recommend an SPF of at least 15. A big shady hat will also guard your face. Make sure your sunglasses have a UV filter to protect your eyes as well as the delicate skin around them. Many prescription sunglasses and contact lenses also offer UV protection—don't be shy to request it. Ideally, try to limit direct sun exposure in the middle of the day (from about 10 am to 3 pm), when UV rays are most intense.
Even though too much sun exposure can be dangerous, it's important to remember that the sun is also your friend. Getting a little sun every day is good for your body and mind. Sunlight enables your body to produce vitamin D, which is essential for bone health. Some beneficial rays also stimulate the pineal gland in the brain, affecting your mood in a positive way. So if you're going outside to enjoy the sun, be sure to drink lots of fresh, tasty juice—it will help protect your body from the inside out!
(Recipe from Wai Lana's Favorite Juices)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, I don't need to tell you how delicious this beautiful drink is. Not too sweet, this light blend of blackberry, grapefruit, and banana is a powerhouse of antioxidants and a general tonic for your skin and eyes.
• 2 pink grapefruit
• 1/3 cup blackberries
• 1 frozen banana
• 1/3 cup water
Juice the grapefruit, either manually, with a citrus press, or with a juicer. Blend the juice with the remaining ingredients until smooth and serve. Makes about 1½ cups.
If you'd like to make this a meal, add a scoop of protein powder and a teaspoon of maple syrup.
This juice is rich in powerful antioxidants like ellagic acid, limonoids, proanthocyanidins, and vitamins C and E. All of these nutrients have proven very effective in neutralizing free radicals, making them wonderful foods for protecting your skin and eyes and preventing all kinds of cancer. Blackberries in particular are one of the most antioxidant-dense foods available.
I always include some white grapefruit pith for extra vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which are most concentrated there. If you like the visual effect, blend the fruits individually, then layer them.
You can find more juicing tips and recipes on our website.