Aug. 1, 2011 at 3:26 PM ET
Important health tip for the summer: Drink more wine! A better protection against harmful sunburns might be a healthy dose of SPF sauvignon blanc, suggests a new Spanish study.
A compound found in grapes or grape derivatives may protect skin cells from skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation, report researchers from the University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council. The flavonoids found in grapes work to halt the chemical reaction that kills skin cells and causes sun damage. Here's what happens: When UV rays hit your skin, they activate "reactive oxygen species," or ROS, which then oxidize big molecules like lipids and DNA. This activates particular enzymes that kill skin cells.
But grapes' flavonoids work to decrease the formation of the ROS's in skin cells that were exposed to UVA and UVB rays. The researchers, led by Marta Cascante, a biochemist at the University of Barcelona and director of the research project, note that this finding may lead to better sun-shielding drugs and cosmetics.
The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.Previously, vino has also been found to fight Alzheimer's, ward off prostate cancer and even prevent cavities. We'll drink to that.