Saturday, May 03, 2008

Eating 5 tomatoes a day 'offers sun protection'

The sample size was too small to enable generalizations

Eating five tomatoes a day could help protect against sunburn and premature ageing, research suggests. Experts at Manchester and Newcastle universities found that the fruit improved the skin's ability to protect itself against ultraviolet light. The researchers calculated that the protection offered was comparable to applying factor 1.3 sunscreen. Now they hope further research will establish whether eating tomatoes protects against more severe forms of sun damage, such as skin cancer.

"You don't have to eat an excessive amount of tomatoes to experience the effect if you are already eating a tomato-based diet with plenty of things like spaghetti and pizza toppings," said Prof Mark Birch-Machin, a dermatology scientist at Newcastle University. "Eating tomatoes is going to have this benefit in the sun, but it is still important to use conventional methods of protecting yourself against the sun such as sunscreens, shade and clothing."

Researchers studied the skin of 20 people, half of whom were given five tablespoons (55g) of standard tomato paste, the equivalent of five or six cooked tomatoes, with 10g of olive oil. The other half received just olive oil. The experiment was carried out over 12 weeks and the group was exposed to ultraviolet light at the beginning and the end of the trial. The results, presented to the British Society for Investigative Dermatology in Oxford, found that those who had eaten the paste had 33 per cent more protection against sunburn.

Ultraviolet light leads to excess production of harmful molecules called "reactive oxygen species", which can damage skin structures and eventually cause wrinkles and skin cancer. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which can neutralise these molecules. This red pigment is found in a number of fruit and vegetables, but is at its most concentrated in tomatoes. The tomatoes were cooked and made into a paste because the heating process frees up lycopene.

Analysis of skin samples from both groups also showed that the tomatoes had boosted the skin's procollagen levels, a molecule which gives skin its structure. Losing procollagen leads to the skin ageing and losing its elasticity. It was also found that the increased levels of lycopene reduced damage to mitochondrial DNA in the skin, which is also linked to ageing skin.


Physical activity, healthy eating and BMI not linked in older teens

Contrary to what many researchers expect, physically active older teens don't necessarily eat a healthier diet than their less-active contemporaries. And there appeared to be no link between body mass index (BMI) values and levels of physical activity, the research showed. The study of 900 Vancouver-area teenagers in Grades 10 through 12 was conducted by Dr. Catherine Sabiston, of McGill University, and P.R.E. Crocker, of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The results of their research - conducted in Vancouver while Dr. Sabiston was still a PhD student at UBC - were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health earlier this year.

Overall, said Sabiston, now an assistant professor in McGill's Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, boys reported participating in more physical activities but ate a less-healthy diet than did girls. Moreover - and contrary to established wisdom in the field -researchers found that people with "healthier" BMI values were no more likely to be physically active than those with higher, "unhealthier" values. Unexpectedly, it was the latter who were more likely to eat a healthier diet. "A lot of people are surprised," Dr. Sabiston said, "but when you think about it, BMI doesn't have a huge impact on physical activity. And in terms of diet, it actually makes sense that someone who is not happy with their body might try to eat more healthily."

According to Sabiston, who is also director of McGill's Health Behaviour and Emotion Lab, the results showed only a very weak correlation between physical activity and healthy eating, and virtually no correlation between an individual's BMI and his or her level of physical activity. The study was undertaken to test a comprehensive model of physical activity and healthy eating behaviour in teens aged 15 to 18, partially in response to two perceived problems with existing research in the field. "First of all, older adolescents are an unrepresented sample in research studies," Sabiston said. "Researchers have generally looked at youths or at university populations and have completely missed this unique, intermediate age group." Second, Sabiston said, many researchers have traditionally treated physical activity and healthy eating as separate phenomena, and have only rarely explored their similarities and differences simultaneously.

The study also found a significant difference in the way boys and girls approach physical activity and healthy diet. Boys, Sabiston said, need to attach value to a healthy diet and feel confident in their ability to follow a healthy diet before they'll actually do it. Girls, she said, regardless of how they feel about their ability to eat a healthy diet, only need to feel it is important to do so before they'll eat properly.

What this study really says, Sabiston explained, is that one cannot assume that someone who is physically active necessarily eats a healthy diet - or the reverse, that someone who is more sedentary or has a high BMI by definition eats a diet of junk food. "This study drives home the point that as a society, we're primarily focused on extrinsic things like appearance and weight versus the betterment of health," Sabiston said. "From a public health perspective, this means we should probably focus on people who are at a healthy weight or even underweight, and emphasize that healthy eating is not just about weight-change."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lycopene, the main component of tomatoes (thought to be toxic when brought to the Old World from the New) is very similar to beta carotene, both having 11 double bonds in a row. Quantum mechanically, that 13 atom structure is a single object ("orbital"), just as a telescoping antenna is a single electrical object, and lycopene acts literally as an antenna towards light indeed.

But such a long antenna ALSO very easily allows a free radical to grab an electron from it (MUCH easier than from proteins or normal fats or DNA's backbone), so as a HIGHLY REACTIVE free radical becomes a harmless negatively charged ion, lycopene becomes a VERY MUCH LESS REACTIVE free radical, since when you SPREAD out an odd number of electrons over SO many atoms (instead of a single one!) it is no longer a strong oxidizer of OTHER molecules. Vitamin C or the body's main anti-oxidant (glutathione) are not fat soluble so do little good to prevent skin cancer since skin uses fat as one of its main layers.

Granted, anti-oxidants recycle one other, so eating a wide variety of them *to* recycle is important so they can get to every nook and cranny of the body. In fact, taking megadoses of single anti-oxidants has often lead to ill effects in many a study. I am highly skeptical of most of those studies though, since the medical and pharmaceutical interests have been trying to ban vitamins for decades, and still suggests a very unhealthy diet of grains and milk instead of fish, mammals and greens.

Here's structural comparisons:¤t=Lycopene.jpg

I've included color swabs of the long molecules. Vitamin A is beta carotene cut in two, and in its normal state is light yellow (it's not long enough to absorb much low energy visible light), but the eye doesn't use it in THAT state:

One of the most beautiful discoveries in science is the fact that we see three colors by using the EXACT SAME molecule, namely a slightly modified form of Vitamin A, but inserted into three slightly different proteins that literally TUNE Vitamin A to absorb the three primary colors by the mere physical act of PHYSICALLY TWISTING IT in three ways. It takes higher energy light (blue) to excite it as an antenna when it is highly twisted, since a twisted line of double bonds has less flowing electrons, so is harder to excite, analogous to how a girl in a very tight dress is harder to impress than the same girl in baggy jeans.

You can see the Vitamin A (with a double bonded oxygen at the end instead of the single one in Vitamin A, so it's called Retinal) inside of the huge Rhodipsin protein, here:

The "Vitamin A" is the enslaved little black molecule in the middle of the membrane protein. Instead of retinol, an alcohol (CH2-OH), retinal is an aldehyde (CH=O), so that adds another double bond to the chain, and in addition it is kinked in the middle. Light undoes that kink as fast as greased lightening, creating a HUGE shockwave in the protein that holds it. It's all best understood as MECHANICAL MACHINERY!!! That's what organic life is: nanotechnology (beams and springs, combined with atomic and membrane sized electrical attraction and repulsion, including cells as literal electrical batteries). There are literally stiff skyscraper-like beams (microtubules) that act mainly as internal scaffolding for cells, but double as transport elevators.

Yet, despite it's effectiveness, the eye has a very stupid design, making the god of Creationistion into a hack. He idiotically placed the blood vessels that feed the retina IN FRONT it, having forgotten that a retina needs blood too until the backside was already designed. That's why during certain flashes of light, you see branching imagery. Also, there are NOT enough "pixels" in the eye to give us such sharp vision, AT ALL, so the eyes make microscopic sideways vibrations, and we use BRAIN COMPUTER POWER to create a much sharper image, by judging the TIMING of how pixels are excited during the eye's motion. This is genius, actually. There's also a reason we lose color vision at night, even though we can see sharply. A fourth type (unmentioned above) of light receptor pixel in the eye does not discern color at all, but is much more sensitive to light in the first place (namely green), since after all, one must throw away 2/3 of the light if a single pixel wants to detect one of 3 primary colors, a SINGLE PHOTON AT A TIME, AND this type of pixel (rods instead of cones) uses MANY more than just ONE retinal molecule, AND there are 20X as many of these quite small and simple pixels as their are huge color pixels.

Vitamin A is NOT primarily an "anti-oxidant" but plays many roles such as turning the DNA code into protein chains, and plays a feedback role in the immune system, along with its role in eyesight. In fact, one of the first symptoms of Vitamin A is, surprise surprise, loss of night vision, and in Africa, half a million children actually go BLIND a year due to lack of this vitamin. Vitamins are called vitamins since we get very sick if we don't get them in the diet. Grains do not provide ANY variety nor amount of most vitamins. Nor do grain-instead-of-grass fed meat or eggs.

That tomatoes may protect skin from sunlight (UV sunlight makes molecules explode into free radicals), is not exactly a radical hypothesis.