The sun's rays damage both the skin and the immune system by penetrating the skin and causing photo-oxidation, she explains, affecting both the cells themselves and the body's ability to repair any damage. Her prescription is to "go Greek" with foods such as olive oil, fish, yogurt and colorful fruits and vegetables to fight the oxidizing effect of the sun, as well as regular applications of sunscreen and appropriate body coverings such as hats, beach coverups, and other sportswear.
Dr. Niva Shapira
For the study Dr. Shapira and Prof. Bodo Kuklinski of Rostock University organized two groups. One group was provided a drink high in antioxidants, while the other enjoyed beverages such as sodas. Those who hydrated with the antioxidant-rich drink had 50% fewer oxidation products (i.e. MDA) in their blood at the end of the two-week period, which included five to six hours of exposure to the sun daily.
The Israeli Cancer Association has included the nutritional information as part of their "Smart in the Sun" advisories.
The good news is that you don't have to move to Greece or the eastern Mediterranean to get the benefit of the diet. Most of the appropriate foods are stocked in American and other international shops. Olive oil, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, red wine in moderation, whole grains, beans and lots of water should be at the top of the shopping list, Dr. Shapira advises.