Well, you won’t believe it, but the short answer is: yes! And we’re not talking about slathering it on like sunscreen, either!
Tomato paste is the most concentrated dose of all the vital nutrients this fruit has to offer. So eating the more concentrated paste, versus sliced, diced, or juiced tomatoes is the most efficient way to consume them.
Tomatoes are packed full of vitamin C and vitamin A, but it is the richest in lycopene.
Lycopene is part of a class of super-healthy plant pigments called carotenoids. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and are what give tomatoes their rich, red color.
There are many health benefits of lycopene (and other carotenoids). They work on the molecular level to protect cells from free radical damage which contributes to cell damage and disease. So consuming lycopene (through concentrated tomato paste) can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, many types of cancer, and liver disease. But, researchers have shown that it even helps prevent sun damage and by extension, prevents signs of aging.
In a study out of the UK, half of the participants were asked to eat 4 Tablespoons of tomato paste with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (for flavor) on white bread for a period of 12 weeks and the other half only ate the olive oil on white bread. They were then exposed to UV light. When the 12 weeks were up, each participant gave a tissue sample and Scientists evaluated their skin under UV light, looking for sun damage.
Scientists concluded that the group who ate the tomato paste had a significant increase in sun protection, reduced UV damage, and an increase in procollagen production (which helps skin maintain youthful elasticity and prevents wrinkles) versus the control group.
Another study done in the US, had half the participants eat a carotenoid-rich diet or take a carotenoid supplement and the other half did nothing different, over a 10 week period. When tested, the participants who consumed carotenoids had a decreased sensitivity to sunburn than the control group.
Researchers concluded that eating a diet rich in carotenoids, or taking a supplement, may give “life-long protection from UV damage.” The mechanism of this is largely due to the antioxidant power of carotenoids.
When cells are damaged, by the sun or other toxins, they release free radicals. Free radicals cause more damage to cells which creates a vicious cycle of free radical release and more cell damage. But, the good news is, free radicals can be scavenged and destroyed by antioxidants.
Antioxidants literally find damaging free radicals floating around in the bloodstream and destroy them before they can cause damage. They also play a role in repairing cells that have already been damaged. These play a huge role in anti-aging because signs of aging are largely caused by cell damage.
This makes lycopene-rich tomato paste a potent skin protector from UV damage. It also helps prevent and repair signs of aging, heart disease, cancers, and liver disease. If you don’t already eat tomato paste on the regular, it’s time to start!
As a Registered Nurse, Brooke Wallace founded OrganicMentor.com out of a passion for organic, natural, and healthy living. By learning more about the toxins we are exposed to every day, they can be reduced or eliminated. Whether it be through skincare products, produce, or the environment, research shows that many of these toxins are linked to acute and chronic diseases affecting millions of people. Our mission is to educate readers about clean products and natural living so they have the information they need to make informed choices.