Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Sep 30, 2009 | Eating Right

Editors Note: This post is written by contributor Gina Ryan. Gina is a licensed nutritionist and Wellness coach from Hawaii. Read her Bio on the About page or visit her blog Lunch Without Ed.

 

Cooked Tomatoes Powerful Benefits

There is something really special about your own homemade sauce and there is something even more special about the cooked tomato!

We have been aware of the wonderful health giving properties of the tom as it contains lycopene, the photochemical which makes them red but which also has significant antioxidant properties.

Lycopene is know as a  carotenoid with some other nutrients in this group like beta-carotene and retinol, which are both found in carrots. Lycopene, in certain foods, is the coloring agent. It also does not have the vitamin A characteristics that beta-carotene and retinol do, but is fat-soluble (so be sure you have some olive oil in  your sauce or your body won’t be able to absorb the lycopene as well) similar to vitamin A. The power of this antioxidant, lycopene is made even more powerful through cooking.

Tomatoes contain 3.1 grams per 100g and watermelon 4.1 grams per 100g of lycopene. Tomatoes also contain amounts of Beta Carotene (which can be converted to A-Carotene) and vitamin C, which fight free radicals in the system. For cancer protection and overall health benefits, tomatoes are a powerful and easy to incorporate into your meals.

What do Tomatoes contain that makes them so good for us?

  • Lycopene: Powerful antioxidant that has been linked to preventing skin damage, CV disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and male infertility.
  • Beta Carotene: helps prevent night blindness, skin disorders, enhances immunity, slows the ageing process.
  • Vitamin C: Another powerful antioxidant. Increases immune strength, repairs damaged tissues including blood vessels, scar tissue and cartilage.

Lycopene has been considered to be helpful in preventing cancers and specifically prostrate cancer. With Italian men having a low instance of prostate cancer we can see for ourselves how helpful the cooked tomato has been for them.

Promoting health with foods containing lycopene can be easy and delightful if combined with other foods containing antioxidants to make delicious meals that help fight cancer. Garlic and onions, both containing powerful antioxidants, can be cooked with tomatoes to make a healthful sauce. You can add some red peppers to a sauce to increase the antioxidant benefit.

Making your own sauce is a healthy, fun and delicious alternative to bottled/tinned sauces when many contain preservatives and excess salt. Click here for a basic marina sauce recipe. Or do you have another sauce recipe you love?

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