Sneaking grapes into your diet may help protect your skin from UV damage

If grapes are among your staple snacks, then we have good news for you! According to a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, eating these delicious fruits can help protect your skin against damage from ultraviolet light (UV).

The findings show that eating around two cups of grapes a day can increase resistance to sunburn by nearly 75 percent. The benefits are believed to be associated with the presence of natural compounds in the fruits, called polyphenols.

The researchers arrived at their findings after examining how eating whole grape powder daily for two weeks impacted each participant’s Minimal Erythema Dose (MED), which is essentially a person’s threshold of UV radiation within 24 hours.

Once someone reaches their limit, the skin becomes red and it can result in sunburn. Using a daily dose of grape powder equal to 2.25 cups of grapes, the researchers found that the MED rises by 74.8 percent.

In addition, skin biopsies revealed that a grape diet can decrease DNA damage, lower the number of dead skin cells, and reduce inflammation — markers which can impair skin function and can potentially lead to skin cancer.

“We saw a significant photoprotective effect with grape consumption and we were able to identify molecular pathways by which that benefit occurs — through repair of DNA damage and downregulation of proinflammatory pathways,” said lead study author Craig Elmets. “Grapes may act as an edible sunscreen, offering an additional layer of protection in addition to topical sunscreen products.”

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