Eating Grapes May Protect Against Skin Cancer

A recent study found that consuming grapes may protect against ultraviolet (UV) skin damage, which is linked to skin cancer.

Data show that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and most skin cancer cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun: about 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 86% of melanomas, respectively. Additionally, an estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun.

In this study, researchers investigated the impact of eating whole grape powder – equivalent to 2.25 cups of grapes per day – for 14 days against photodamage from UV light. The researchers noted that the study subjects’ skin response to UV light was measured before and after consuming grapes for two weeks.

The results showed that grape consumption was protective, as more UV exposure was required to cause sunburn following grape consumption. A subsequent analysis of skin biopsies showed that the grape diet was associated with reduced DNA damage, fewer deaths of skin cells, and a decrease in inflammatory markers.

 

“We saw a significant photoprotective effect with grape consumption and we were able to identify molecular pathways by which that benefit occurs – through repair of DNA damage and downregulation of proinflammatory pathways,” said principal investigator Craig Elmets, M.D., via a press release. “Grapes may act as an edible sunscreen, offering an additional layer of protection in addition to topical sunscreen products.”