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Tomato-rich Diet Can Help Protect Skin

Posted: May 2, 2008

Consuming lycopene-rich tomato paste may protect against sunburn and sun-induced skin aging, British researchers have reported.

Subjects who consumed tomato paste were found to have 33% more protection against sunburn, compared to the control group, researchers from the Universities of Newcastle and Manchester presented at the British Society for Investigative Dermatology this month.

The research taps into one of the newest trends in nutritional foods--the "beauty from within" segment, which is predicted to become a strong niche during the next few years.

The researchers recruited 20 people and randomly assigned them to receive 55 grams, or five tablespoons, of standard tomato paste with 10g of olive oil daily, or just olive oil, for 12 weeks.

The skin of the volunteers was exposed to UV light at the start and end of the trial, and the researchers found the tomato paste-supplemented group had 33% more protection against sunburn than the olive oil only-fed group. This level of protection was equivalent to a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 1.3, said the researchers.

The benefits of the tomato paste were attributed to the lycopene content that may neutralize the harmful effects of UV light due to the excess production reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can damage important skin structures.