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Eat well and look great this summer

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

When the sun's out and skies are blue it gives us a mood boost, but summer can also give us a beauty boost if we eat well.

Summer brings lots of in-season fresh produce, including many natural beauty foods.

"Summer can be a lot easier for healthy eating, it lends itself to lighter foods," says dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association Alana Macdonald. "In the winter months we tend to eat more potatoes and bread, relying more on stodgy comfort food when it's cold and rainy outside."

"In the summer we tend to have a more plant based diet, a Mediterranean style of eating which is packed with goodness that [helps] protect against lots of conditions," says consultant dietitian Helen Bond.

We asked the experts what's good to eat:

1. Strawberries

The classic fruit of a British summer, conjuring up images of Wimbledon and lazy afternoons in the sun. Not only do they taste divine they are good for us too.

"Strawberries are jammed packed with vitamin C which is an antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals and the effects of ageing," says Alana.

Free radicals are all around us, in the air, in our bodies, and in materials around us. They can cause premature ageing and contribute to age-related illnesses.

Alana goes on to say: "Strawberries also have seeds on them which are a good source of fibre which can lower your risk of heart and cardiovascular problems and help with good bowel habits."

2. Tomatoes

The smell of home-grown tomatoes in a hot greenhouse is the essence of summer days and they pack a beauty punch too.

They are rich in beta-carotene and lycopene, which is linked to reducing levels of free radicals.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may reduce the effects of UV damage on the skin. Sun damage caused by UV rays includes premature wrinkling.

A number of studies have suggested that the lycopene in tomatoes may boost your skin's natural defence against sun damage.

One small study by Manchester and Newcastle Universities found that eating tomato paste every day (cooked as that contains more lycopene) increased the skin's protection against sunburn by 33%.

Even so don't forget the sunscreen.

"Tomatoes come to a peak in summer," says BDA spokesperson Helen. "At only 14 calories each they are really versatile; make a pasta sauce with them, stuff them or whip up a cold gazpacho soup."

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