Drinking wine or eating grapes could protect you from sunburn, according to a new study that found a chemical in the fruit can limit cell damage.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun are the leading environmental cause of skin complaints, premature ageing, sun burn and even skin cancer.
But in another nod towards the healthy mediteranean diet, Spanish scientists found substances in the grapes protect cells from the damage.
Already cosmetic companies are registering interest in the hope of making sun creams or pills that copy the process.
The University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council looked at the chemical reaction in the skin when hit by UV rays from the sun.
They found that flavonoids in the grapes can stop the chemical reaction that causes cells to die and therefore skin damage.
The study, carried out in vitro in the laboratory, has been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Marta Cascante, a biochemist at the University of Barcelona and director of the research project, said it proves grapes could help protect the skin from sun burn and even skin cancer.
She said the research could help to develop skin creams and other products to protect skin from sun damage.
“This study supports the idea of using these products to protect the skin from cell damage and death caused by solar radiation, as well as increasing our understanding of the mechanism by which they act”, she said.
The study also adds to the popular image of the healthy and tanned population of the mediteranean.
Previous research has put the low cancer rates and good health down to tomatoes, olive oil and even red wine.