Tomatoes and Your Skin

We all love a bit of sunbathing - it can be absolutely delightful to sit out in the sun and relax.  I personally am not a sun worshipper of any sort, but I recognise it can be delightful to chill outside in warm weather. Also, as I'm sure you are aware, the sun triggers the synthesis of vitamin D - important in preventing osteoporosis and rickets, incl other diseases. 

This is me enjoying the sun's rays in Portugal, dosing up on some vit D:-As you know, the ultraviolet rays in the sunlight cause our skin to age faster. But even regular everyday exposure causes skin damage.  It causes our skin to become increasingly dry, wrinkled, saggy and blemished with pigments, also increasing our risk to skin cancers and other diseases. This is because the sun's rays damage the collagen in our skin. Collagen is a fibrous and strong substance which makes our skin firm and tight.

Cue my plug on tomatoes...Tomatoes are a beautiful and eye-catching bright red colour. (Duh!) This lovely colour comes from its lycopene pigment. Lycopene is an important element in keeping our skin young and healthy looking, as well as protecting it from the sun's ultraviolet rays.The lycopene in tomatoes acts as a built-in sun screen in our skin; it absorbs ultraviolet radiation. It also acts as a barrier and prevents damage to our collagen and our skin's DNA.  Lycopene is also an antioxidant which mops up free radicals. Free radicals are baaaad because they interfere with how our cells work, damaging the DNA in our skin and breaking down the cell membrane.

Our bodies cannot produce lycopene; the only way to obtain lycopene is to eat lots of tomatoes (pink grapefruit and papaya are also great sources).When tomatoes are cooked, their cell walls are broken down, releasing the lycopene. Therefore tomato sauces and pastes are a fantastic source, including tomato ketchup.Here is a popular idea to boost your intake:-

Heat some tomatoes on the hob in a little olive oil, until they start to break up and become soft. Add some basil or oregano and serve on some Ryvita or wholemeal toast. Absolutely gorgeous.

Check out my idea to barbecue tomatoes:-

Here is my video on how to make tomato-bread:-

And this is my baked stuffed tomato recipe:-
4 large tomatoes
a third of a pepper
1 small red onion
1 slice of granary seeded bread
fresh basil
30g mozarella cheese
salt and pepper
To conclude, just like most things in this life, protecting our skin from sun damage is a question of balance. Too much sun protection, and we are at a danger of vitamin D deficiency. Too little, and there's a certain consequence of premature ageing. To manage our intake of sunlight, it is well worth dosing up on tomatoes.


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