British researchers have found adding cooked tomatoes to the daily diet improved the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays, according to a BBC report on Monday.(File Photo)
British researchers have found adding cooked tomatoes to the daily diet improved the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays, according to a BBC report on Monday.
Researchers at the universities of Manchester and Newcastle found adding five tablespoons of tomato paste to the daily diet of10 volunteers could help ward off skin damage by providing some protection against the effects of UV rays. Damage caused by these rays can lead to premature aging and even skin cancer.
In a study, the researchers gave 10 volunteers around 55 grams of standard tomato paste which contains high levels of cooked tomatoes and 10 grams of olive oil daily, with a further 10 participants receiving just the olive oil.
After three months, skin samples from the tomato group showed they had 33 percent more protection against sunburn, the equivalent of a very low factor sun cream, and much higher levels of procollagen, a molecule which gives the skin its structure and keeps its firm.
The study suggested the antioxidant lycopene, found at its highest concentration when the tomatoes have been cooked, was behind the apparent benefit.
"The tomato diet boosted the level of procollagen in the skin significantly. These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin aging process," Lesley Rhodes, a dermatologist at the University of Manchester, was quoted as saying.
There was a warning however that tomatoes should be viewed as a "helpful addition" rather than an alternative to sun cream.
The Researcher said the study was both small and short, and they are now looking at carrying out fresh research into the benefits of lycopene for the skin.
(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2008)