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Tomatoes are not only delightfully delicious but also have many known health benefits, including preventing cancer and heart disease. This is due to the tomato’s high content of lypocene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Now, there are two more reasons to add tomatoes to your shopping list: protection from wrinkles caused by premature aging and protection from sunburn.

A study by researchers at Manchester and Newcastle Universities found that adding five tablespoons of tomato paste to one’s daily diet improves the skin’s ability to protect against harmful UV rays. Tomato paste is the most concentrated form of tomato available.

The skin samples from the study showed that the participants who ate standard tomato paste had 33% more protection against a sunburn, the equivalent of a low-factor sunscreen. Also, the study participants had much higher levels of pro-collagen, a molecule, which gives the skin its structure and keeps it firm. However, the researchers warn that tomatoes should be considered a “helpful addition” rather than an alternative to sunscreen.

With the variety of tomatoes and tomato products in the market today, it is easy to incorporate this tasty and magical fruit into your daily cooking. Try this delicious recipe from the Food Network that incorporates tomato paste:  Chicken, Artichoke and Cannellini Bean Spezzatino.

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