Eating tomatoes may prevent the most common types of skin cancers according to a recent study published by Scientific Reports.
The study, conducted at The Ohio State University, found that tomato consumption decreased the development of UV induced tumours in male mice by 50 percent.
Previous human clinical studies have found that eating tomatoes improves skin protection from sun damage by 30 percent. Researchers attribute this to the lycopene in tomatoes, which, once ingested, is distributed in the skin.
Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment which functions in plants to protect against sun damage. The theory is that carotenoids, once present in the skin, fill the same function, protecting the skin against UV light.
Lycopene from whole tomatoes is more effective at preventing sunburn than synthesized supplements. Whether this is due to additional tomato compounds, as well as lycopene, is the subject of ongoing research.
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