Consumption of tomato paste may help boost the skin's protection against harmful ultraviolet rays, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer, British researchers say.
The study included 10 people who consumed about 55 grams of tomato paste and 10 grams of olive oil a day, and 10 others who consumed just the 10 grams of olive oil. After three months, an analysis of skin samples showed that those in the tomato paste group had 33 percent more protection against sunburn and higher levels of a molecule called procollagen, which gives skin its structure and keeps it firm, BBC News reported.
The study was presented at a meeting of the British Society for Investigative Dermatology.
The researchers believe the antioxidant lycopene was behind the apparent skin benefit, BBC News reported.
"These weren't huge amounts of tomato we were feeding the group. It was the sort of quantity you would easily manage if you were eating a lot of tomato-based meals," said Professor Lesley Rhodes, a University of Manchester dermatologist.