There are many health benefits of eating tomatoes. Tomatoes contain compounds that have been proven to help prevent cancer, heart disease cataracts and many others.
New research is beginning to indicate that tomatoes may be used to help prevent lung cancer. Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid-are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines. These are compounds that not only are formed naturally in the body, but also are the strongest carcinogen in tobacco smoke. By blocking the effects of these nitrosamines, the chances of lung cancer are reduced significantly.
When choosing your tomatoes, be sure to pick those with the most brilliant shades of red. These indicate the highest amounts of betacarotene and lycopene. Though raw tomatoes are great for you, cooking them releases even more of the benefits. Lycopene is located in the cell wall of the tomato, so by cooking in a bit of oil, this healing compound is more fully released. In addition cooking the tomato in olive oil allows your body to absorb the lycopene better. Don’t worry about the availability of fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes don’t lose any of their nutritional value in the high heat processing , making canned tomatoes and tomato sauce are both just as viable and beneficial as fresh tomatoes.
Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and in lycopene, a protective factor against prostrate cancer. They are also a source of potassium – essential for balancing our sodium intake and for proper cell performance as well as for regulating blood pressure.
They contain folate, niacin and Vitamin B6 (an anti-inflammatory) and Vitamin K (which aids the body’s fight against osteoporosis).
Tomatoes are second only to potatoes in terms of the quantity of vegetables we consumers eat, so, scientists are now trying to grow tomatoes with a wider range of health providing qualities. The first anthocyanin-laden tomatoes were produced in 2004 at Oregon State University. Anthocyanin is one of the compounds that makes red wine healthy.
The latest informed speculation on the health benefits of tomatoes concerns lung cancer.
Tomato Health Facts
- Eating tomatoes, ketchup, tomato sauce and tomato paste-topped pizza more than two times a week can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 21 to 43 percent according to Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard University School of Public Health.
- “The only nutrient that turned out to have significant preventative value (against prostate cancer) was lycopene,” writes Dr. Giovannucci who also found that lycopene was most efficiently absorbed into the body when accompanied by dietary fats (limpids).
- “Cooking tomatoes in oil encourages intestinal absorption and results in a two-to-threefold rise in plasma lycopene concentrations,” said Dr. Giovannucci. “Tomato sauce is one of the best lycopene sources.”
- Men who eat two or more servings of tomato products average a 35 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk.
- Tomato products are beneficial in aggressive cancers that have also spread to other parts of the body.
- The best food sources of lycopene according to the Tomato Research Council in New York City: ( Amount of lycopene in one ounce) Tomato Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Ketchup (5 mg); Tomato Soup, Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Vegetable Juice (3 mg); Minestrone Soup, Vegetable Soup, Pink Grapefruit (1 mg)
- Lycopene helps women guard against cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia, (CIN), tumorous tissue growth in the cervix according to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Lycopene is a powerful inhibitor of the growth of breast, endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) and lung cancer cells.
- Tomatoes are good for the eyes. Lycopene, the most abundant carotenoid in the blood serum, was found to be the key antioxidant that guards against ARMD ( Age-Related Macular Degeneration), a condition that may cause blindness.
- Tomatoes are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium
- Lycopene is an inhibitor to heart disease.
Other Health Benefits of Tomato :
- A large consumption of tomato can help improve skin texture and color.
- Tomato is a good blood purifier.
- Tomato helps in cases of congestion of the liver (protects the liver from cirrhosis) as well as for dissolving gallstones.
- Tomato is a natural antiseptic therefore it can help protect against infectionNicotinic acid in tomatoes can help to reduce blood cholesterol, thus helps prevent heart diseases.
- Vitamin K in tomatoes helps to prevent hemorrhages.
- Tomato contain lycopene (the red pigment in tomato), this pigment is a powerful antioxident that can also fight cancer cells.