The foods you eat may lower your risk of sunburn.

Gear Review: Six Ultimate Endurance Sunscreens

Written by: Cielestia Calbay

Loading up on lycopene-rich fruits and veggies like tomatoes can protect your skin from excessive sun exposure, according to researchers at the University of Manchester who looked at the lycopene found in tomato paste and their impact on reducing the redness caused by excessive sun exposure.

Twenty-one light skinned women were given 55 grams per day of tomato paste in olive oil or just plain olive oil for three months. Before and after the test, each woman was exposed to a controlled amount of ultraviolent light. Those who consumed tomato paste were able to tolerate more UV exposure without skin damage as opposed to the women who were given the plain olive oil as a placebo.

According to FitDay, cooked tomatoes and processed tomato products like ketchup have a larger amount of lycopene than raw tomatoes due to the heating process that breaks down the cell walls of the tomato, which makes the lycopene more available. For example, one ripe tomato contains 3.7 milligrams of lycopene in comparison to 25 milligrams found in one cup of tomato soup.

Other foods rich in lycopene are watermelon, guava and pink and red grapefruit.

Of course, a lycopene-rich diet alone is no substitute for sunscreen. Check out our roundup of the best six endurance sunscreens here.