a very odd craving, nor am I going to start pouring creamy lotions over my strawberries or icing a Victoria sponge with some sun cream.
My proposal is a lot more simple - get some of the best foods that can naturally protect the skin from the UV rays and free radical damage (though it won't stop it from burning, especially if you choose to spend hours in the sun!) and, while we are talking healthy eating, share a few skin care products inspired by the said foods, too.
Since I've written about the skin, tanning and sunscreens in the past, I won't bore you with details in danger of sounding like a broken record. Instead I am going to get down to the beautifully positive and easily digestible subject of food stuff and organic beauty because at the end, everything, including our skin health and its ability to recover and protect itself naturally depends on what we eat.
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a red carotenoid and antioxidant that works as a natural UV block and is equal to SPF3. A study presented at the British Society of Investigative Dermatology in 2008 showed that consuming 55g of tomato paste daily increased the body's natural ability to protect itself from sunburn by 33%. Giving the fact that eating lycopene-rich diet also increased production of pro-collagen, you can rely on tomatoes to prevent wrinkles and keep the skin looking young and plump.
Enjoy tomatoes in salads, but also remember that cooking increases lycopene levels in food, especially when tomatoes are combined with olive oil, so get that delicious tomato sauce and drizzle some olive oil when serving it.
Beauty tip: Eminence Tomato Day Cream is made with whole tomatoes, aloe vera and co-enzyme Q10 to hydrate, rejuvenate and protect your skin.
Watermelon is another source of lycopene - in fact, it contains 40% than tomatoes (or 7000mg per cup). In addition, the berry is also a source of beta-carotene and vitamin C essential for supporting healthy skin. The high water content of watermelon will keep the skin hydrated, too.
Beauty tip: Make a difference with Origins' Overnight Repair Cream - a beautiful blend of rose, lychee, rhodochrosite and, of course, watermelon. Eminence Watermelon & Papaya Body Cream and Elemental Herbology Sun Kiss Self Tan are the other little indulgences to give the body a touch of natural-looking tan and keep the skin hydrated and glowing.
Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene and zeaxanthin that can activate melanin-production and are used by plants as a natural sunscreen.
Beauty tip: every day treat your face to MyChelle Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser to wash away impurities, restore the skin's natural moisture balance and protect it with an extra dose of anti-aging antioxidant astaxanthin.
Broccoli has already appeared in my Body Beautiful series, but this is one of the foods I wouldn't get enough of - it is that amazing. Not only it will reduce the risk of cancer, it will also nourish the body with vitamin C, beta-carotene and sulphoraphane, an antioxidant that protects the skin and cells from free radical damaged caused by UV rays.
My favourite way to enjoy it at the moment? A delicious salad made with raw baby broccoli, salad leaves, chopped pear, walnuts, a little goats cheese and EV olive oil. So good!
Beauty tip: Apply a few drops of Sunday Riley Juno Face Oil made with broccoli, carrot, cranberry and meadow foam oil and your skin will look glowing and silky-smooth.
Strawberries: rich in ellagic acid, kaempferol, quercetin and vitamin C, the berries will ensure that you stay young for longer while protecting your skin from free radicals.
Beauty tip: this is a very old and mood-boosting DIY mask that I've been using since my childhood (another Russian beauty DIY) - whenever you have fresh strawberries, cut a berry in half, hold onto the leaves and glide the berry across your face, gently squashing it, so it becomes a sort of mask. Leave for 10-15 minutes and wash off to reveal glowing skin. Alternatively, resort to Montagne Jeunesse Strawberry Souffle Mask.
Cranberries: they are, indeed, the sweetest when it comes to taste, but these tiny beautiful glossy berries are one of the highest sources of vitamin C, kaempferol and quercetin, plus cyanidin and peonidin - the mighty antioxidant duo that protect the cells from free-radical damage, reduce inflammation and risk of cancer. In case your need a replacement - plums and cherries are also good.
A little advice from a Russian girl who used to pick cranberries every year - buy them fresh (often they are available a couple of months before Christmas, for obvious reasons), freeze and use over the course of a year. They make a fab addition to braised red cabbage, can be added to smoothies and sauces. Whenever you feel the cold symptoms, crush a handful of berries with a tsp of raw honey, add hot water, leave to stand for a couple of minutes and drink - it's a fantastic tonic for the system packed with vitamin C.
Beauty tip: even if your don't get your daily dose of berries, Fresh Seaberry Moisturising Face Oil, Kiss My Face Lip Balm and Burt's Bees Cranberry Body Scrub will take of your face and body day to night.
Seaweed is also pretty amazing when it comes to skin health. First of all, it's a vegan source of Omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, protect the cells from free-radical damage and prevent risk of certain cancers. Additionally, algae is a great source of asthaxathin, an antioxidant and natural sunscreen with anti-aging benefits.
Beauty tip: Can't think of anything more wonderful and gorgeously scented than Pacifica Island Vanilla Body Butter, a sensual blend of nature's best extract for the most beautiful and soft skin. Even the packaging is so very pretty!
Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, a mineral and antioxidant that can reduce the risk of skin cancer. Beside selenium, the nuts also contain skin-loving vitamin E, zinc and essentials fats.
Beauty tips: try super-nourishing Brazilian Bombshell Skindelicious Body Butter blended to reduce inflammation, repair the skin and keep it soft and nourished.
Lemons, as well as oranges and grapefruits, are one of the most reliable sources of vitamin C and, even better, a substance called limonene that has shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer by 34%. Since limonene is found in the skin of the fruit, your best bet is to add about 1 tsp of orange or lemon peel to your foods and salad dressing. Another option? Juicing whole lemons or oranges alongside your favourite greens and adding slices of lemons to a cup of black tea (another Russian habit of mine...). When the life gives you lemons - make the most out of it!
Beauty tip: adding lemon juice to your DIY face masks will reduce the oiliness, black heads and brighten the skin. For an ultimate body treatment, Neal's Yard Rehydrated Rose Body Lotion is the one to count on.
Chocolate, especially the raw variety, is high in flavanols that can reduce the risk of sunburns by increasing the minimal erethema dose and improve the skin's natural ability to heal and rejuvenate. All it takes is 20g of dark chocolate daily.
Beauty tip: May Lindstrom Problem Solver is a nourishing and healing mask made with raw cacao powder (and many other amazing things!) For a DIY beauty treatment mix 100g raw cacao powder with 1tbsp honey and enough hot water to turn it into a paste, leave to cool and apply all over the body focusing on problem areas (this body wrap may help to reduce cellulite). A budget-friendly option is to melt a bar of organic dark chocolate over water bath, add 1 tbsp of raw honey and 100-150g natural yoghurt - do your best to not lick it off...
Green tea is a source of polyphenols that can protect DNA, prevent skin burn and cell damage caused by UV light and reduce risk of skin cancer by as much as 65%.
Beauty tip: try gorgeous Tata Harper Redefining Body Balm and Jurlique Jasmine Body Care Lotion. My favourite DIY idea is to add a pinch of matcha to my home-made face masks for an extra boost of super powers...
Photo source: Missy Rayder in Miami heat / Glamour May 2014 (photography: Cedric Buchet, styling: Jillian Davidson)