Why this doctor says one should eat tomatoes for sun protection


ONEIf temperatures rise, we need to think more about sun protection. And while that means you need to replenish your sunscreen (SPF 30 and above, thank you!) And avoid direct sunlight whenever possible, functional physician Stacie Stephenson, DC, DNS says you should increase your tomato consumption as well. This is because tomatoes have an ingredient called lycopene, which is a phytonutrient that helps protect your skin from sun damage when ingested.

“Plants make lycopene and other carotenoids to protect themselves from sun damage, and when humans eat these plants – or more precisely, the fruits of these plants – carotenoids are deposited in the skin and appear to have a similar effect, blocking the damage from UV. light and reduce the incidence of sunburn, “says Dr. Stephenson. Research has shown that mice that eat a tomato-rich diet get fewer skin cancers. And because mice treat carotenoids in the same way as humans, “it is reasonable to estimate that especially people who eat a lot of tomatoes can also enjoy the same benefit of greater resistance to the most common types of skin cancer.”

As you become more exposed to the sun – especially if you are prone to burning – it is worth getting some extra protection from your diet.

“You can only do so much for the skin if you start from the outside,” says Dr. Stephenson. “Real, meaningful skin care must come from both directions – from the outside and in and from the inside out. What you eat and drink is the primary means you have to influence the skin from the inside out, whether you are trying to protect your skin in the summer. or butter and moisten it in winter. “

But remember, that does not mean you can just eat tomatoes and drop the sunscreen. Getting more lycopene in your diet is an extra sun protection step, not an SPF alternative. “Just because you get some protection from the inside out, does not mean you should not add extra protection from the outside in, “says Dr. Stephenson. Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens like Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($ 20 to $ 36), which will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, and be sure to reapply every two hours (or every 80 minutes if you are in water).

To reap the sun-protective benefits of tomatoes, you can eat them raw or cooked.

“Processed tomatoes actually seem to have a greater effect as they are more concentrated,” says Dr. Stephenson. “Tomato sauce and tomato puree have more carotenoids, including lycopene, than fresh tomatoes. Several studies that have examined the sunscreen effect of tomatoes used tomato puree, as this was the richest source of carotenoids and the target phytonutrient, lycopene, is being studied.”

Dr. Stephenson likes to get his lycopene from pasta sauce and gazpacho.

“I like a light sauce made with tomato paste, vegetable broth and a splash of coconut milk over a small amount of pasta with lots of deeply colored vegetables,” she says. “This adds even more lycopene and other phytonutrients. I like different varieties and colors of cherry tomatoes, peppers, carrots and dark leafy vegetables. I also like whipping a quick-cooled gazpacho in the blender with the garden products we have on hand. It’s a great way to use a lot of tomatoes. “

Try making this delicious pizza alternative with tomato:

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