Strawberry extracts could protect the skin against harmful ultraviolet (UV) damage, a recent study has suggested.

Italian researchers from the Universita Politecnica delle Marche added strawberry extracts to human skill cells and exposed them to UV light (the equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun in the French Riviera).

strawberries uv rays

Could strawberries protect your skin from harmful UV rays?

UV and UVB are two types of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun that cause DNA damage to skin cells, causing premature ageing, sunburn and in more serious cases, skin cancer.

Researchers found that the strawberry extract, especially at a concentration of 0.5mg/ml, displayed photoprotective properties in skin cells exposed to UV radiation, according to a statement.

Strawberry extracts also increased cell survival and viability, by decreasing the DNA damage to skin cells when compared with control cells.

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“These aspects are of great importance as they provide protection for cell lines subject to conditions that can provoke cancer and other skin-related inflammatory and degenerative illnesses,” researcher Maurizio Battino said in a statement.

Researchers also claim their findings could be a first step in determining the beneficial effects of strawberries across the board, including in our diets and cosmetics.

But what molecules give strawberries their photoprotective properties? Scientists suspect that it could be the anthocyanins, which are pigments that give leaves, flowers and fruits their red colour.

The results were published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry.

Find out how to feed your skin with these complexion-boosting foods...

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  • Pomegranate

    "Pomegranate contains many anti-oxidant and phytonutrient compounds such as Ellagic Acid, that help keep inflammation in check and support the skin during the many elements of the day, such as heating and cold air, as well as environmental toxins," explains Robyn Mason.

  • Blueberries

    "Blueberries are one of the most powerful edible antioxidants thanks to its unique anthocyanains. These build up the skin's capillaries and protect them from breakages, which cause rashes and broken veins," says Dr Barbara Olioso.

  • Carrots

    "These cheerful, crunchy vegetables are sky-high in beta carotene, which strengthens the skin against sun damage," says Dr Barbara Olioso.

  • Artichoke

    "Artichokes contain sillymarin and cynarin, whcih both help support the liver and gallbladder. This ensures skin doesn't turn dull and lifeless, as it gets rid of the toxins and waste from the body which also minimises puffiness," advises Robyn Mason

  • Prickly Pear

    "These are Sicily's best kept secret... The prickly pear is a great tonic for the kidneys with its kidney detoxifying properties that help keep skin clear and glowing," says Dr Barbara Olioso.

  • Bananas

    "Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps the body cope with stress, a collagen killer. This fruit will help your skin avoid stress-related break-outs and premature ageing," says Dr Barbara Olioso.

  • Broccoli

    "Broccoli contains a compound that helps boost DNA repair cells and is high in vitamin C, which is needed for collagen production, as well as folate, which is needed for healthy new cell production. Broccoli is also a great source of Sulforaphane, which helps heal the skin from UV rays," says Robyn Mason.

  • Tomato

    "Tomatoes, especially beneficial when cooked, are rich in Lycopene, which is a key anti-ageing property for the skin, so eat these whenever possible," advises Louise Thomas-Minns.

  • Coconut

    "Coconut contains triglycerides, which are healthy fats that plump up skin membranes and cells by keeping them hydrated. Without these fats, the skin becomes dehydrated no matter how much water you drink. Adequate essential fatty acids really do make the skin glow," says Robyn Mason.

  • Garlic

    "Garlic is rich in sulphur compounds and is known as the 'beauty mineral' due to its long established benefits for all kinds of skin concerns. Onions and garlic are also prebiotic foods which are good for the gut flora and supports liver detoxification - helping skin stay clear of toxin break-outs," says Robyn Mason.

  • Kiwi

    "Snack on a kiwi fruit to bump up your vitamin C intake, as this is vital for boosting collagen production," says Louise Thomas-Minns.

  • Strawberries

    "The fruit of passion is a rich source of vitamin C, a great collagen production booster. Combine these with carrots and you've got yourself a potent, but natural defence against the sun's UV rays," advises Dr Barbara Olioso.

  • Kale

    "Kale is one of the best sources of beta-carotene, a fantastic anti-ageing anti-oxidant. In addition, it also contains other carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxathin, which help protect the skin from UV rays. Kale also contains manganese, which is helps the Super-Oxide Dismutase, a hard-working enzyme that helps the skin fight against free radical damage," says Robyn Mason.

  • Avocado

    "The green 'butter rich' avocado is rich in nutrients and helps keep skin soothe and soft on the outside. However, these are best eaten fresh rather than in an oil form, as the oil is prone to oxidation," explains Dr. Dr Barbara Olioso.

  • Pineapple

    "Pineapples not only taste great, but they contain a massive amount of vitamin A, C and the bromelain enzyme, which helps burn fat and aids digestion. For the skin, this means that it helps break down fatty tissues and is particularly beneficial for reducing cellulite," says Dr Barbara Olioso.