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Tomato puree protects skin against aging

Eat ten tablespoons of tomato puree a day, and you can reverse your skin's aging process. Dermatologists at the universities of Manchester and Newcastle announced this at the congress of the British Society for Investigative Dermatology. Tomato puree stimulates the manufacture of the protein procollagen in the skin. Procollagen gives the skin more structure and makes it stronger.

Tomato puree protects skin against aging
The researchers presented a small study they did with ten test subjects. For three months the subjects ate 55 g of tomato puree mixed with 10 g olive oil daily. The oil was added to increase the uptake of the bioactive substances in the tomato puree.

After the three months, the researchers discovered that not only had the production of procollagen in the skin 'significantly increased', but that the skin was also 30 percent more resistant to the harmful effects of UV radiation. UV radiation damages the DNA of skin cells, and thus accelerates the aging of the skin.

The protective effect of the tomato puree was comparable to using a light sun cream. The researchers warned however that tomato puree is not a substitute for sun cream, but that it can help.

Researcher and dermatologists, Lesley Rhodes of the University of Manchester is pleased with the result. "These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin ageing process", she says. "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."

The researchers suspect that lycopene is the active ingredient in tomato puree. However, if you add lycopene in pure form it only has a weak protective effect on the skin, the Brits think.

BBC 28 April 2008.