Summer is approaching, and with summer comes long days, warm temperatures, sun and, unfortunately, sunburns. Everyone wishes they could spend a day at the beach and return with a glowing tan, but more often than not, they return looking like a lobster. In fact, half of all adults report at least one sunburn in the past 12 months.

To avoid this, introduce tomatoes into your diet for some extra built-in protection. In a research study, a group of women consumed tomato paste daily for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the researchers measured the participants’ skin reddening response to UV light and proved their skin was more resistant to damage from harmful UV rays. In addition, eating tomatoes appears to slow down skin aging.

What is it about tomatoes that helps to prevent sunburns? Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene that protect your skin from UV rays that cause sunburns. Your body naturally tans when exposed to a moderate amount of radiation to protect itself from and block UV rays. However, too much exposure at once results in the undesirable sunburn.

Not a fan of eating tomatoes alone? Try adding them to a salad like in this refreshing cucumber, avocado, and tomato salad or topping your favorite pasta with homemade tomato sauce.


Photo by Sarah Adler

So enjoy a sunburn-free, relaxing summer, whether you are staying in Ithaca, spending time at home or traveling the world by eating lots of tomatoes and soaking in some Vitamin D. Keep in mind, consuming more tomatoes does not mean you can stop using sunblock. Tomatoes only help protect you from sunburns; they will not prevent sunburns. 


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