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Foods that Can Help Prevent Sunburn

Many years ago, a patient of mine who had traveled extensively around the world told me about a group of people he encountered that ate red beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes almost every day to help protect their skin against sunburn.

Since learning of this tip, I have shared it with a number of people who have asked for some natural tips for preventing sunburn, and I've found it to have merit. Though I haven't come across any published studies that offer conclusive proof that indicates that eating red beets, carrots, or sweet potatoes can make skin more resistant to burning, I have observed that people who regularly eat phytonutrient-rich foods - especially those that are rich in bright red, orange, and green pigments - tend to burn less easily than people who don't regularly eat these foods.

The most effective combination of vegetables that I've found to help prevent sunburn from the inside out is:

Small head of dark green, leafy lettuce
1 small red beet
3 small carrots

A convenient way to get the nutrients in these vegetables into your system is via a freshly pressed juice. If you don't have a juicer, two that I can recommend are The Champion Juicer, and The L'Equip XL Juicer.

But there's no pressing need to juice these vegetables; you can get them into your system by adding shredded red beets and shredded carrots to a large green salad. I find that shredding red beets and carrots makes them more enjoyable - when shredded, they're not as overwhelming in flavor as they can be when eaten in larger chunks.

I've found that eating cooked versions of these foods is also an effective way to increase resistance to sunburn. Here's a simple and truly delicious dish that calls for red beets and sweet potatoes:

Roasted Red Beets, Sweet Potatoes, and Onions

Makes about 4 servings


3 red beets, washed, scrubbed, and cut into chunks
3 sweet potatoes, washed, scrubbed, and cut into chunks
2 large onions, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375-400 F.

2. Toss beets with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on baking sheet/pan, and roast for 15 minutes.

3. While beets are roasting, combine sweet potatoes, onions, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper in a large bowl and give all ingredients a good toss until well combined.

4. After beets have roasted for 15 minutes, add all other ingredients to baking sheet/pan, give everything a good mix, and roast for another 45 minutes. At about the 20-25 minute mark, give the vegetables a bit of a stir to help them roast evenly.

When vegetables are finished cooking, let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Here are more recipes from our healthy recipes archive that call for red beets, sweet potatoes, or carrots:

Red Beet Salad Recipe

Red Beet and Sunflower Sauce Recipe

Carrot, Beet, and Jicama Salad Recipe

Borscht Recipe

Sweet Potato and Pecan Salad Recipe

Homestyle Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

Vision Supporting Juice Recipe (Carrots, Spinach, Apples, and Acerola Cherries)

An added benefit to eating red beets on a regular basis is a decrease in risk for developing colon cancer; the pigment that gives red beets their rich color - called betacyanin - has been shown by several studies to have anti-cancer properties.

If you eat red beets regularly, you may see a red tinge to your urine and stools - if this happens, don't be alarmed; it's simply an indication that you are supplying your cells with plenty of health-promoting phytonutrients, including betacyanin.

If you increase your intake of red beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark green vegetables as a natural way to decrease your risk of experiencing sunburn, please consider coming back to this article after a fair trial period and sharing your experience with this method. Thank you.


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Greetings, I saw this article before going to a Mexican resort for three weeks and thought I'd experiment with drinking beet juice (powdered form mixed with water) to test this hypothesis. Each morning I added 2-3 table spoons of beet powder to about 300 milliliters of water and drank. I was in the sun for 6-8 hours and didn't apply sunscreen any day. I am blond with blue eyes and have, in the past, been allergic to sunscreens and was seeking an alternative. I am happy to say that this is just a great alternative to sunscreens. No burns! In fact, it was the best tan I've ever had. Thanks for recommending.