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Grapes help protect skin from UV damage

New research has revealed that daily grape consumption can help protect skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage. These protective effects are linked to polyphenols, which are organic compounds that occur naturally in grapes,  tea, dark chocolate, berries, and other plant-based foods. 

Polyphenols are packed with antioxidants, and are believed to improve digestion and help protect brain health. These compounds are also thought to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. 

“Over three million Americans are affected by skin cancer each year, largely as a result of exposure to sunlight,” wrote the researchers. “The purpose of this study was to determine the potential of grape consumption to modulate UV-induced skin erythema.”

For the Investigation, participants were supplied with packets of freeze-dried grape powder and were instructed to prepare and consume two packets per day. 

“To assure the consistency and continuity of experimental and clinical research concerning the biological and physiologic potential of grapes, a freeze-dried powder is manufactured under the auspices of the California Table Grape Commission,” wrote the study authors.

“The grape powder, which serves as a surrogate for fresh grapes, is composed of fresh seeded and seedless red, green and black grapes that are ground and freeze-dried to retain their bioactive compounds.”

After consuming the equivalent of 2.25 cups of grapes every day for two weeks, one-third of the study participants had greater resistance to sunburn. These individuals were also found to have unique microbiomic and metabolomic profiles. This discovery suggests that there is a correlation between the gut and skin.  

“’Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ dates back to the time of Hippocrates.  Now, after 2500 years, as exemplified by this human study conducted with dietary grapes, we are still learning the reality of this statement,” said study lead author Professor John Pezzuto of Western New England University.

The study is published in the journal Antioxidants.

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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