Research: Tomatoes And Pomegranates Could Aid In Skin Sun Protection

As the saying goes: You are what you eat. A diet high in fruits and vegetables—eight servings a day, doctors say—is recommended for lowering the risk of certain diseases and fighting inflammation. But could certain fruits also help prevent sunburn? As we head into the blazing August heat, with skin cancer on our minds, it’s important we all do as much as possible to protect ourselves from UVA and UVB radiation. That might, in fact, include eating an extra tomato salad or two.

Recent research indicates that indulging in pomegranates and tomatoes can help prevent sun damage in or on the skin. Scientists in England published results from a study saying participants who ate tomato paste for an extended period of time saw a notable increase in their skin’s natural protective powers from the sun. Additional research also suggests that pomegranate extract could aid in skin protection. 

We contacted Ilyse Schapiro, a licensed dietitian and nutrition coach based in Harrison, to see if we should start adding tomato paste or pomegranates to our weekly grocery list. Schapiro vehemently agrees that the antioxidants and high lycopene content of both fruits contributes to their protective nature, adding that she would recommend red peppers to her own clients with sun damage concerns. She went on to say that, in reality, it is a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables that makes all the difference due to the myriad vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants found in nature’s food.

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Schapiro went onto insist, however, that while these preventative measures have validity, people should never disregard the importance of sunscreen. While eating tomatoes and pomegranates might help to some degree, they by no means replace necessary sunscreen application to prevent sun damage and skin cancer.

With all of this in mind, eat those tomatoes and pomegranates to your heart’s content; you can never have too much protection, right?

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