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Tomatoes ‘can help protect against sunburn’

Whether it’s part of a full English breakfast, on the base of a pizza or in a sandwich, the tomato is a fine addition to any meal.

However, new research has revealed the humble fruit is more than just a tasty treat, as it may contain properties that help to combat sunburn.

Dietitian Juliette Kellow told the Mail Online that in a study of UK adults, those who ate five tablespoons of tomato puree each day were a third (33 per cent) more protected from the sun’s rays than those who didn’t.

This is because tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which gives them their red colour and also makes human skin more resistant to sunlight.

Somewhat surprisingly, processed and cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than fresh ones and your body finds it easier to absorb. The antioxidant is also present in pink grapefruit and watermelon.

That’s not the only thing tomatoes have got going for them, however. The study also found eating the fruit can boost levels of procollagen, which helps to prevent skin elasticity, ageing and wrinkles.

While the findings of this research are interesting, it’s important to remember consuming tomatoes will only go a small way to protecting your skin. Even if you eat the fruit for breakfast, lunch and tea the chances are you’ll still get burnt if you spend too long out in the sun without taking the necessary precautions.

This has been stressed by Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists who commented: “Studies have shown that various foods may be able to provide limited protection.

“However, the level of protection is marginal and no ingredient has been identified that would act as a comparable substitute for conventional sun protection methods.”

The best way to stay safe in the sun is to stick to the shade. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be stuck indoors all day, as a shade sail structure from Shaded Nation lets you enjoy the best of both worlds.

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