This Cooking Hack Makes Tomatoes 10x Healthier For Your Skin (Derm-Approved!)

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
This Cooking Hack Makes Tomatoes 10x Healthier For Your Skin
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Foods for glowing skin—oh, how we've waxed poetic on the nutritious list. Yes, some foods (namely, high-fat, water-dense staples) are known for their complexion-changing properties, and you might already incorporate some of these into your diet. What you consume shows up on your skin, folks, so why not literally feed your skin with antioxidants and healthy fats?

Board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park, M.D., highlights a few of her favorite players over on TikTok: She numbers off some regular crowd-pleasers, like omega-3-rich salmon, leafy greens, and brightly colored fruits and veggies. And within that last bucket, she specifically touts tomatoes—well, cooked tomatoes. 

Below, find exactly what makes cooked tomatoes such a skin-healthy upgrade.

Why cooked tomatoes are A+ for glowing skin. 

Tomatoes are chock-full of antioxidants: specifically quercetin, vitamin C, and lycopene—a powerful carotenoid that gives tomatoes their deep red hue. The latter in particular has some pretty impressive benefits for skin health: One study found that ingesting tomato-derived products rich in lycopene was associated with better photoprotection and decreased sensitivity to sunburns; another found that high amounts of lycopene in the skin was correlated with a smoother texture

OK, so tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, which is super for skin health. But here's the thing: Cooking your tomatoes increases the bioavailability of the carotenoid. Research backs this up, as one study demonstrated that additionally heating tomatoes had significantly enhanced the participants' lycopene response

In terms of how long tomatoes need to cook, it's a little unclear. In the aforementioned study, the tomatoes were boiled for one hour before serving; however, another study found that heating tomatoes for 15 minutes is all you need—they concur that heating the tomatoes does influence their antioxidant content, but 15 minutes had no significant difference compared to 30 minutes. 

In terms of what this means for you and your skin, consider it a sign to whip up some homemade pasta sauce or a cozy dish of baked eggs. Better yet, pair your stewed tomatoes with a glug of olive oil: Research shows that the two are particularly bioavailable lycopene sources since the antioxidant shows greater intestinal absorption in association with fat.


The takeaway. 

Look, at the end of the day, any antioxidant-rich fruit or veggie can contribute to your glowing complexion—raw tomatoes included. Although, if you want to elevate their power just a tad, try sautéing, baking, or boiling your tomatoes before chucking them into your meals. 

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