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Can grapes help prevent sunburn?

Study in the journal Antioxidants suggests the fruit may protect against ultraviolet damage to skin.

Tim Hearden

January 6, 2023

2 Min Read
WFP-ARS-grapes-0223.jpg
Perceived health benefits are a big reason table grapes have become so popular that they're now a "staple" item on consumers' grocery lists.USDA ARS

Could a diet that includes fresh grapes help you prevent sunburn? A study published in the scientific journal Antioxidants suggests so.

With 29 human volunteers, scientists from New England report that nine demonstrated greater resistance to ultraviolet irradiation of the skin after consuming the equivalent of three servings of grapes per day for two weeks.

“Over three million Americans are affected by skin cancer each year, largely as a result of exposure to sunlight,” wrote the scientists, led by John Pezzuto of Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.

“The purpose of this study was to determine the potential of grape consumption to modulate UV-induced skin erythema,” they explained. “With 29 human volunteers, we report that nine demonstrated greater resistance to UV irradiation of the skin after consuming the equivalent of three servings of grapes per day for two weeks.”

Related: Table grapes now a 'staple item' for consumers

The participants who showed results also demonstrated unique metabolomic profiles suggesting a correlation between the gut and skin, according to the study, which was partly funded by the California Table Grape Commission.

The new study reinforces previous research, the commission notes, and it comes amid that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

“'Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food' dates back to the time of Hippocrates,” Pezzuto said. “Now, after 2500 years, as exemplified by this human study conducted with dietary grapes, we are still learning the reality of this statement.”

Related: Studies tout grapes’ ‘remarkable’ health benefits

Earlier studies by Western New England University and touted by the California table grape industry show "astonishing' effects of grape consumption and "remarkable" impacts on overall health and lifespan. Separate research linked the fruit to improvements in liver function, cognition and overall metabolism.

The CTGC provided grapes for the studies.

The perceived health benefits are a big reason table grapes have become so popular that they're now a "staple" item on consumers' grocery lists, according to a survey commissioned by the CTGC. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted during the current table grape season showed that 83% of shoppers purchased grapes within the past three months.

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