5. Tomatoes may help to protect the skin against sun damage
According to a study, the consumption of tomato paste could provide protection against sunburn and skin aging induced by the sun. For the study, the skin of 20 individuals was compared, one group of 10 individuals were given 5 tablespoons, or 55g, of tomato paste together with 10g of olive oil daily, with the other group of 10 having only olive oil, for 12 weeks.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
The skin was exposed to UV light at the start and end of the study. Significant improvements were found in the ability of the skin to protect itself against UV light in the group that had consumed tomato paste.
Besides the significant reduction in sunburn, the level of the skin’s procollagen was significantly boosted in the tomato diet group. Procollagen is a molecule providing skin structure its and loss of this molecule contributes to lack of elasticity and aging of the skin. The quantities of tomato the group was consuming were comparable to if consuming lots of tomato-based meals.
Many of the UV light’s harmful effects are caused by the unwanted production of molecules called reactive oxygen species which can potentially damage important skin structures. Sun damage from UV light exposure can include skin cancer and premature wrinkles.
The key skin-saving property of the tomato is a potent antioxidant known as ‘lycopene’, which can neutralize or ‘quench’ the harmful molecules. Lycopene is the bright red pigment found in several red vegetables and fruits, but cooked tomatoes have the highest levels. There is a high concentration of cooked tomatoes in tomato paste, which makes it an excellent source of lycopene.
In comparison to the control group, the group who had consumed the paste was found to have 33% more protection against sunburn. The protection provided by the tomato paste was determined to be comparable to a sunscreen with an SPF of 1.3.
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