Grapes: Nature’s Sunscreen?

There is a lot of healing potential in the foods we eat each day. Bananas can stop leg cramps. Ginger soothes an upset stomach. But did you know that grapes could prevent sun damage?

A recent human study conducted at the University of Alabama, Birmingham found that eating grapes protected against ultraviolet skin damage. It is the polyphenols naturally found in grapes that are thought to be responsible for these beneficial effects.

Participants of the study consumed the equivalent of 2.25 cups of grapes per day for 14 days. At the end of 14 days, skin biopsies were analyzed. Results showed an association between the grape consumption and decreased DNA damage, fewer deaths of skin cells, and a reduction in inflammatory markers.

No one is saying that eating grapes is a substitute for sunscreen and sun protective clothing, but it could help.

"Grapes may act as an edible sunscreen, offering an additional layer of protection in addition to topical sunscreen products,” said study lead, Dr. Craig Elmets, M.D.

Keep this in mind while planning your next tropical vacation. Adding grapes to your daily diet leading up to the trip is easy to do. If it can provide a bit of extra UV protection, it is worth it.