Tomato Paste: Better Than Botox?

September 18, 2011

My 4 years old niece Irene is, unlike other kids, not crazy about sugary or junk foods; instead she loves eating bulgur, quinoa and/or brown rice mixed with a ton of tomato paste.
I was a little bit concerned that a kid was eating all that tomato paste so I did some research and discover some amazing things about it. So yes, the 4 years old kid was right all along...
In particular, high consumption of tomato paste has been found - according to a recent research - to improve skin health, thanks to its high concentration of lycopene.

A team of British researchers have reported that consuming lycopene-rich tomato paste may protect against sunburn and sun-induced skin ageing.
The researchers recruited 20 people and randomly assigned them to receive 55 grams (five tablespoons) of standard tomato paste with 10g of olive oil daily, or just olive oil, for 12 weeks.
The skin of the volunteers was exposed to UV light at the start and end of the trial, and the researchers found that the tomato paste-supplemented group had 33 %  more protection against sunburn, than the olive oil only-fed group. This level of protection was equivalent to a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 1.3, said the researchers.
The benefits of the tomato paste were attributed to the lycopene content, which may neutralise the harmful effects of UV light due to the excess production reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can damage important skin structures.
But that’s not it, skin samples taken from the subjects indicated that the tomato paste-supplemented individuals had higher skin levels of pro-collagen, a molecule which gives the skin its structure and loss of which leads to skin ageing and lack of elasticity.

Co-researcher Professor Lesley Rhodes said: "The tomato diet boosted the level of procollagenin the skin significantly. These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin ageing process. This is in addition to the significant reduction in sunburn. These weren't huge amounts of tomato we were feeding the group. It was the sort of quantity you would easilymanage if you were eating a lot of tomato-based meals.
People should not think that tomatoes in any way can replace sun creams, but they may be a good additive. If you can improve your protection through your diet then over several years, this may have a significant effect."
"The protective effect of eating tomatoes on our mitochondria is important as they are the energy producers in all our body cells including skin," said Professor Mark Birch-Machin. "Therefore being kind to our mitochondria is likely to contribute to improved skin health, which in turn may have an anti-ageing effect."


So it's good to know that you can get some of the benefits for your "entire" skin by eating tomato paste with olive oil (or some kind of oil, since lycopene is fat soluble). For that matter, you can probably get the same benefits from drinking tomato juice or vegetable juice (that has tomato juice in it) like twice a day, since tomato juice is also high in lycopene. I'm not sure how much tomato paste can do for your skin (other than making it more resistant to skin
cancer) but eating tomatoes in any form has a LOT of benefits to your health: prevent numerous types of cancer and heart disease, lowers cholesterol, helps diabetics keep blood sugar levels under control, helps reduce the frequency of migraines, the list goes on...
So, get on board with tomato paste!

The Iron You


  1. Lovely article and very intuitive niece!

  2. I read somewhere that tomato paste (or tomatoes in any form for that matter) from the can should be avoided since some kind of bad chemical reaction occurs between metal and tomato.It was recommended to buy tomato products in other containers (like carton). I wonder how valid is this point?