Strawberry sunblock

Is there no end to the benefits of the strawberry? On their own they make delicious mid-morning snack without the guilt of chocolate. They can blend their way into things from daiquiris to shortcakes (all consumed in moderation of course). Their plush red hue means that strawberries can even make a charming pattern for anything from a girl’s dress to a set of crockery (you can’t say that for a porterhouse steak!). Add into the bargain that the pigments that give strawberries their red colouring offer health benefits and strawberries really are the complete package. If contemplating the glory of strawberries makes you want to just run and frolic in the sunshine the good news is that strawberries might be a help there as well. It seems, according to a new study, that strawberries might protect you against UV light damage as well.

To establish this, researchers from Spain and Italy prepared human skin cell cultures and added strawberry extracts to the cultures at concentrations of 0.05mg/ml, 0.25mg/ml, and 0.5mg/ml. These skin cells were then exposed to UV light equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun on the French Riviera. The strawberry protected cells were compared to cells that had no strawberry but an equal UV exposure.

The results showed that cells immersed in strawberry extract survived better and had reduced DNA damage. The protection also increased as the concentration increased with 0.5mg/ml extracts giving the best protection.

In essence the study is showing that the antioxidant anthocyanin compounds from strawberries have anti-inflammatory and enzyme modifying effects that reduce the chances of developing skin cancer and skin damage. Further research will have to be done to see how well strawberry anthocyanins are absorbed through the skin but the suggested ability of strawberries to protect against radiation is not new. Earlier research done at the University of Maryland has shown that eating strawberries could protect against astronauts against the negative effects of cosmic radiation.

If you do seek to get some of these benefits by eating strawberries be sure to eat organic strawberries as non-organic are among the “dirty dozen” foods that are the most exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Rest assured though, that strawberry sunblock cream won’t be too far away. However, if you do apply your “strawblock” at the beach, passers-by may suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to invite you for an aperitif or to lick the small of your back; there could be some downsides as well of course.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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