Surprising Health Benefits of Tomato
Tomatoes! They’re sweet, juicy, and delicious. Everyone knows they are good for you, right? Uh, yeah, sure. Does everyone know specifically why tomatoes are a healthful food? Ummm… They have vitamin C? They’re low in calories? They’re fat-free? Yes, yes, and yes, but that’s not all!
Let’s look at what makes the tomato an excellent healthy choice.
- 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.
- Researchers fed 10 volunteers a daily supplement of 10 grams of olive oil and 55 grams of standard tomato paste, while another 10 were given only the olive oil. After three months, the researchers analyzed skin samples from all 20 participants.
- They found that volunteers who had eaten the tomatoes exhibited 33 percent more protection against sunburn than those who had taken olive oil alone. They also had higher levels of procollagen, a protein that plays a crucial role in preserving skin structure.
- “The tomato diet boosted the level of procollagen in the skin significantly. These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin aging process,” researcher Lesley Rhodes said.
- “These weren’t huge amounts of tomato we were feeding the group. It was the sort of quantity you would easily manage if you were eating a lot of tomato-based meals.”
- The scientists believe that lycopene neutralizes free radicals that are formed when UV radiation strikes the skin. These free radicals have been linked to cancer and the effects of aging.
- The researchers warned that the sun protection acquired from the tomatoes was equivalent only to that provided by a low-grade sunscreen and should be used as a “helpful addition,” rather than a replacement.