The humble tomato could be the key to more effective sun protection. Tomatoes contain Lycopene – which is a potent antioxidant that could potentially protect the skin whilst in the sun and helps skin that is already suffering substantial sun damage. Lycopene is found in tomatoes and other red fruits (it provides the red colour) but its concentration is particularly high in cooked tomato products like tomato sauces and tomato puree/paste, even ketchup!
There is lycopene in raw tomatoes but not nearly as much as cooked tomatoes, organic varieties has proved to contain more than the quickly grown varieties. In a small controlled study carried out by Newcastle and Manchester universities, women were given 55g of tomato paste each day (to eat, no spreading of tomato puree on the skin please!) for 12 weeks. The skin protection against sunburn increased by 30% in the women. So combined with topical UVA and UVB protection it could offer greater benefits for your skin while in the sun. So when you’re on holiday boost your skin’s protection by indulging in lots of tomato based dishes and sauces, very tasty!
Grow your own! – It is so easy, believe me if I can do it then anyone can! I grow a variety that I can plant in hanging baskets – Tumbling Tom and hundreds and thousands, they require no pinching out or fiddling with and produces loads of sweet juicy cherry tomatoes! Use them for sauces, or put them on pizzas, home grown toms will contain more lycopene than shop bought ones, as you let them grow at their natural speed and the Lycopene has time to develop.
Suttons Seeds have a wonderful choice of Tomato plants and seeds