My Journey by Donna Karan

If you thought tomatoes were only for salad and making pasta sauce, you’d be mistaken.

Tomatoes are also great for the skin.

Think about it, once summer ends, skin can start to look dry and aged from all of that sun exposure. If you’re looking to bring skin back to its radiant self come fall (or any time, really), there’s no need to head to a plastic surgeon or cake on the foundation.

You can find skin salvation right in your grocery store; just head to the produce section and grab some tomatoes.

The Truth about Tomatoes

Tomatoes have long been known for their high amounts of Lycopene, Phytoene and Phytofluene – which together can tackle UV radiation, promote anti-aging benefits, and more. This superfood is not only great for its beauty and skin health effects, but is additionally beneficial for cardiovascular health and vision health.  According to Dr. Karin Hermoni, Car-O-Blend category manager at Lycored, an international wellness brand dedicated to bringing tomato benefits to people everywhere tomatoes are indeed magical.

Surprisingly enough, the best thing we can do with tomatoes in order to help our skin is eat them, she says.

“The notion of ‘beauty from within’ has been extensively studied in recent years and the conclusion is that while topical skin protection is very important, it is not enough,” Hermoni shares.

So, If you don’t want to look as red as a tomato after a day in the sun, eating tomatoes regularly may help you protect your skin from getting sun-burned. If you are not a tomato person, consider supplementing your diet with a tomato- based dietary supplement to boost skin protection.

The great advantage of edible sun screen is that un-like conventional sunscreens which are based on momentary exterior protection, edible sun screens confer continual whole body skin protection. With that, it should be emphasized that this ingestible sun protection is a complementary approach to the traditional sun protection methods and not meant to replace them, she suggests.

What types of tomatoes are best?

Different tomato varieties can confer slightly different benefits to skin health according to the level of the different phytonutrients they contain, Hermoni says.

In general, scientific research suggests that several phytonutrients in the tomato, (and also other fruits and vegetables) are working together to support our skin health and appearance. Specifically, tomato carotenoids are contributing to photo-protection and overall skin wellness. Lycopene is the major tomato carotenoid, giving it its red vibrant color. This carotenoid has been found to have anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties therefore it reducing the cellular damage and the overall sun-burn effect associated with UV exposure.

“So, the redder the tomato looks, you can assume it contains more lycopene. According to a 2007 study, Roma tomatoes have been found to contain relatively high levels of lycopene,” she says.

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On the other hand, phytoene and phytofluene are colorless tomato carotenoids that have been linked not only to UV protection but also to skin whitening effects and the support overall skin wellness. Moreover, consumption of carotenoids together with other nutrients from fruits and vegetables was found to have beneficial effects on skin color and radiance.

“So, in your salad you may want to combine tomatoes from different varieties with other fruits and vegetables to optimize the effect of the natural nutrition on your skin,” she says.

Other Veggies for Beauty

Tomatoes aren’t the only veggies that can help with your beauty regimen.

Hermoni says many natural phytonutrients from fruits, vegetables and even herbs and spices can benefit our skin. For example rosemary has been found to have a photoprotective effect, and its combination with tomato phytonutrients not only tastes good but was also found to potentiate skin protection.

In general, the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits vegetables, olive oil, spices and fish is associated with many health benefits such as cardiovascular health, cognitive health, eye health, bone health etc. oxidative and inflammatory stress are key processes affecting all those health indications.

“Tomatoes are main components of the Mediterranean diet, known for their ability to control these two important processes and by that confer many health benefits. The different tomato phytonutrients such as carotenoids, tochopherols, phytosterols and vitamin C synergistically activate the body’s own defense mechanism and improve its ability to cope with oxidative and inflammatory stress in different tissues,” she says.

So, the secret is that healthy diverse diet (combined with other healthy lifestyle choices) is the best approach to maintain and promote not only skin wellness but also overall well-being, Hermoni says.

“Of note, the bioavailability of tomato carotenoids varies according to the consumption method, for example, consumption of tomatoes with oil (such as olive oil) increases lycopene absorption. In fact, tomatoes cooked in oil are even a better source for lycopene than raw tomato,” she says.

According to the data from the United States Department of Agriculture, “while a cup of tomato juice or half a cup of pasta sauce daily can provide more than enough lycopene, you will have to eat much more raw tomatoes to get the same amount,” Hermoni says.

The next time you make a trip to your local grocery store, be sure to load up on tomatoes!

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