Tomatoes protect against sun damage

Five tomatoes a day 'protects skin from sun'

Eating five tomatoes a day could protect against sunburn and premature skin ageing, new research suggests.

A study at Manchester University found that the fruit improved the skin’s capacity to protect itself against UV rays.

Following the research, scientists now hope to establish whether eating tomatoes protects against more severe forms of sun damage, like skin cancer.

Dermatology scientist, Prof Mark Birch-Machin commented: ‘You don’t have to eat an excessive amount of tomatoes to experience the effect if you are already eating a tomato-based diet with plenty of things like spaghetti and pizza toppings.’

Birch-Machin added: ‘Eating tomatoes is going to have this benefit in the sun, but it is still important to use conventional methods of protecting yourself against the sun such as sunscreens, shade and clothing.’

Scientists analysed the skin of 20 people, half of whom were fed five tablespoons of tomato paste – the equivalent of five tomatoes – with 10g of olive oil. The remainding people received just olive oil.

The group was exposed to UV light at the beginning and end of the 12-week trial. The results showed that those who had eaten the paste had 33% more protection against sunburn.

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