Eating upwards of 60 grapes per day dramatically improves resistance to the sun, including offering protection against sunburn, according to new research.
Natural polyphenols found in the grapes are thought to be the reason why the fruit improved resistance to ultraviolet light in humans.
Lead author Professor John Pezzuto, of Western New England University in the United States, weighed in on the sweet findings: “‘Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ dates back to the time of Hippocrates. Now, after 2,500 years, as exemplified by this human study conducted with dietary grapes, we are still learning the reality of this statement.”
Rates of skin cancers are growing wildly across the globe as modern skincare routines of chemicals supposedly leave skin more susceptible to UV light than ever in history. In Great Britain, rates of skin cancer double every 10 to 20 years; now up over 210,000 national cases annually.
For this new grape study, researchers recruited 29 participants and fed them two and a quarter cups of grape powder daily for two weeks.
Most grape strains originate from the Mediterranean, but not Concord grapes — they hail from New England
About 10 of the participants developed a resistance to ultraviolet light after eating the grapes; about 10 percent of the participants reported that the beneficial effects lasted four weeks after they stopped eating the powder daily.
Researchers measured participants’ skin responses to ultraviolet light before and after eating the grapes as a baseline. They did so by measuring the amount of ultraviolet radiation needed to cause visible reddening after 24 hours. The team also analyzed participants’ gut, blood samples, and urine samples.
A certain metabolite was found in lowered quantities in the group who had developed resistance to ultraviolet light, which reinforced the overall findings, according to researchers. One of these metabolites, known as 2-deoxyribose, is a particularly strong indicator of reduced sun damage. So a depression of 2-deoxyribose in urine should theoretically indicate less sun damage at a molecular level.
Grapes contain hundreds of potential phytochemicals that create many other health benefits, as well. They contain a small amount of resveratrol, which is a cancer chemopreventive agent that also positively affects the central nervous system, gastrointestinal health, atherosclerosis, inflammation, vision, urinary bladder function, and osteoarthritis. The US, alone, produces over 6 million tons of grapes annually, so don’t be shy — make them a part of a balanced diet today.