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Tomatoes good for skin

29th April 2008

A new study has suggested that foods containing tomato paste can help to protect against sun damage and stave off wrinkles.

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The research, presented at the British Society for Investigative Dermatology, showed that the addition of five spoons of tomato paste to the food eaten by 10 subjects heightened the skin's capacity to defend itself against damaging UV rays, which can cause skin damage and cancer.

The researchers said an antioxidant, known as lycopene, which is present in tomatoes, provided the beneficial effects. The highest amount of lycopene occurs when tomatoes are cooked.

Teams working at Manchester and Newcastle universities provided 10 subjects with 55g of tomato paste and 10g of olive oil to eat every day. 10 more participants were given only olive oil to add to their diet.

When samples of skin were analysed after three months, the participants who had eaten tomatoes demonstrated 33% higher levels of defence against sunburn. They also had increased amounts of procollagen, which can stop the skin from wrinkling.

"The tomato diet boosted the level of procollagen in the skin significantly. These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin ageing process," said Professor Lesley Rhodes, a dermatologist at the University of Manchester.

"These weren't huge amounts of tomato we were feeding the group. It was the sort of quantity you would easily manage if you were eating a lot of tomato-based meals."

The researchers warned that eating the fruit should not be used as a substitute for the use of sun protection cream.

 

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