Triumph of the Tomato

tomatoesIn what can be described as a quickie study, British researchers determined that eating lots of tomato paste did two great things for the skin: first, it enhanced the skin's protection against sunburn by 33%, the equivalent of a low factor sunscreen; second, it promoted a much higher level of procollagen, a molecule that gives the skin its structure and keeps it firm.

I say quickie study because there were only 10 participants in the study and 10 controls. One group got tomato paste and olive oil; the other just olive oil.

But don't write it off. Science continues to find lots of ways that lycopene, an antioxidant that is plentiful in tomatoes, is good for us. According to the website,, high levels of lycopene are associated with reduced rates of cancer of the digestive track and prostate cancer.

The site lists the following as good sources of lycopene:

Product Lycopene (mg /100 ga) Serving Size b Lycopene (mg /serving)
Tomato Juice (without salt added) 9.3 240 mL (1 cup) 22.9
Tomato Ketchup 17.0 15 mL (1 tbsp) 2.9
Spaghetti Sauce 16.0 125 g (1/2 cup) 20.0
Tomato Paste 29.3 30 g (2 tbsp) 8.8
Tomato Soup (Condensed) 10.9 245 g (1 cup prepared) 13.1
Tomato Sauce 15.9 60 g (1/4 cup) 9.6
Chili Sauce 13.0* 15 mL (1 tbsp) 2.2
Seafood Cocktail Sauce 12.2* 60 g (1/4 cup) 7.3
Watermelon 4.9 280 g (~1/16 of a watermelon) 13.6
Pink Grapefruit 1.5 154 g (1/2 medium) 2.3
Raw Tomato 3.0 148 g (1 medium) 4.5

Tomato dishes 'may protect skin'

Photo by Vishal 

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