Red pigment in tomatoes’ skin an anti-oxidant
Tomato ranks as one of the most popular foods in the world — and as luck would have it, eating fresh cooked tomatoes is a delicious way to fight disease.
Research findings suggest that high consumption of tomato products is associated with reduced incidences of cancer, specifically cancer of the lung, breast, prostate and digestive tract.
Why this food? The pigment that gives tomatoes their rich, red colour is called lycopene, proven by scientists to be a powerful anti-oxidant. In the body, it is anti-oxidant compounds that fight the free radicals that can lead to disease.
“Dietitians tell us that the body can better absorb the lycopene in tomatoes if they are cooked,” says Dr. Idamarie Laquatra, a nutritionist at the H.J. Heinz Company. “A recent study showed, for example, that lycopene is absorbed 2.5 times more effectively from tomato paste, than it is from fresh tomatoes.”
Further research is required before lycopene’s full health benefits can be documented for the development of a public consumption guideline. In the meantime, many health professionals support a daily diet that is high in cooked tomato foods.
Heinz researched some typical values for lycopene content of some foods: