With summer here, you might be enjoying freshly squeezed fruit/vegetable juices in the morning. And you may be reading about juice cleanse diets touted by celebrities.

Vegetables and fruits are obviously good for you, but did you know that some of them should be eaten only at specific times?  In fact, these these fruits and vegetables should be avoid during the daytime:  lemons, oranges, grapefruit, celery, parsley, potatoes, and eggplant.

Why?  They include a substance called Psolaren, known to absorb the sun’s UV rays.  Ingested psoralen makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, which causes 80% of skin aging.  But, since psoralen breaks down in 8 hours, it’s fine to eat those fruits and vegetables at night and have them absorbed into your system while you’re asleep.

This warning applies to cosmetics as well.  If your moisturizer or serum includes extracts from the vegetables and fruits listed above, such as Citrus Medica Limonum (lemon oil), you are at risk of absorbing more skin-unfriendly UV rays.  Retinol also has the same UV-absorption effect as psolaren.  Cosmetics with these ingredients should not be used during the day, only at night.

One vegetable that you should definitely eat in the evening is the beautiful, red tomato, which contains the powerful antioxidant lycopene which offers many benefits for your body and skin.  Lycopene has been known to help:

  • Prevent skin damage from UV or any other oxidized stress
  • Fight cancer
  • Keep your cells strong and rejuvenated

Lycopene travels from the small intestine to your skin cells in 6-8 hours.  So, by the time you’re up and ready to go outdoors, the antioxidants from the lycopene will be ready to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Cooking tip:  heating and mixing the tomato with oil maximizes absorption (bioavailability) into your system.  Who knew your mom’s favorite pasta sauce recipe was so good for you?

So, no lemons during the day, but definitely tomatoes at night!

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