Is Lycopene All That?
Anyone ever tell you that if you eat a lot of tomatoes you don't need to wear sunscreen? Well, that's not totally true, but I can understand the confusion! Lycopene, the best free radical "scavenger" in the carotene family, can
block UV light. And tomatoes, which are the best source of lycopene, are definitely beneficial when it comes to sun protection...but there's a catch. You can't get much lycopene from raw tomatoes because the lycopene is bound to indigestible fiber thus making it difficult for the body to absorb. The solution - cooked tomatoes!! According to my dermatologist, Dr. Jessica Wu, in her book Feed Your Face,
"just 20g of tomato paste per day can reduce the risk of sunburn by as much as 33%." So, what does all these mean for you? Well, I can tell you what it means for me! If I know I'm going to be spending a day in the sun, I opt for a night-before dinner of spaghetti or something doused in tomato sauce. Remember, a bunch of tomato paste should never take the place of sunscreen, but think of it as adjunct "therapy". And it can't hurt!