Eat Salsa Daily for UV Protection

I bet some of you might already know this, but UV exposure is the number one cause of premature aging.

Oh how I love the sun! Let me count the ways!! There is just really no other feeling like coming out after a long Winter and having that warm sun hit you like a gentle warming friend. But, as with most things, too much of a good thing can be bad. So we have to protect ourselves form too much exposure. one of the ways we can protect ourselves is by covering up with a good cream with SPF of 20 or higher. You can read more about what I recommend in my post about Sunscreen.

So I just read a study that was posted on Pub Med‘s site, that really was interesting to me. The study is written in some heavy scientific jargon, but this is what I understood about it:

They took 9 people and split them into two groups. a dietary supplement was made for part of the group with 40g of tomato paste and 10g of olive oil. This supplement provided 16mg of lycopene. The other part of the group was only given olive oil. Then they induced erythema on all subjects. Meaning they exposed them to UV rays not coming from the sun, (maybe from a tanning bed type of exposure, they didn’t say exactly) that would cause a reddening of the skin. (Erythema’s definition is, “superficial reddening of the skin, usually in patches, as a result of injury or irritation causing dilatation of the blood capillaries.”) So the ones that were taking the tomato paste and olive oil combined they analized after 4 weeks and the results were the same as the ones that only had the olive oil. BUT… after 10 weeks, erythema formation was 40% lower in the group that consumed tomato paste.



So my first thought was to go to the grocery store and get a case of tomato paste and a huge bottle of olive oil, and start my 10 week protection program from the sun. I was so excited about the findings in this study, I told my husband about it and his comment was spot on. He said, “All the more reason to eat salsa every day.” LAAAaaaaa! This is me singing a note…music notes

I immediately felt better about it because, we do consume a bit of salsa every day.  Especially since we have been on this diet, which you can read about in my post here, Freaking Diets!!! I hate ‘Em!. We have an omelette every morning for breakfast. Mine has a medium hot salsa on it for a bit more flavor, his has a burn your mouth off hot flavor that I can’t seem to get my pansy tongue, and mouth to tolerate. Along with that, we go out with our friends every Tuesday night to a Mexican restaurant La Casita, where we consume mass amounts of lycopene. When we are not on a diet, we have it with chips, when we are on a diet, we pour it all over our salad as dressing.

So UV protection by way of the anti-oxidant found in foods that contain lycopene.


I also want to include here, some other foods that everyone commonly eats, that contain lycopene. There’s watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, guavas, sweet red peppers, red cabbage, mango, carrots, and asparagus. Asparagus surprised me a little because I was finding a common denominator in the red color of all the other foods listed. The top of the list is tomato, and specifically tomato paste- because it is more easily absorbed in our dietary intake.

So if you are worried, as I am, about your over exposure to UV rays… go out and stock up on some foods that are a pretty red color. Your esthetician, and dermatologist will be so proud of you!!

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