November 28, 2012

Eat Good Things: Tomatoes

I'm starting a new feature on the blog called: Eat Good Things.
I want to highlight healthy foods and post some information and ideas of these foods.

So here is the first Eat Good Thing - Tomatoes
I love tomatoes, ever since the first time I saw a tiny cherry tomato (when I was 2 years old).
These healthy, fresh and juicy vegetable/fruit is wonderful on sandwiches, salads or just on their own!

An interesting idea is of eating tomatoes cooked will be more beneficial

Nutritional biochemist Carolyn Lister says tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene in the human diet, as well as containing other antioxidants essential for health, but the human digestive tract is unable to release the majority of lycopene from raw tomatoes, so only a small amount is made available for the body to use.
Lister says processing tomatoes has been shown to make lycopene more bioavailable, so as well as eating raw tomatoes for their nutritional value, we should eat tomato sauces to get the goodness of the lycopene.
The research is published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

What's New and Beneficial About Tomatoes
Did you know that tomatoes do not have to be a deep red color to be an outstanding source of lycopene? Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that has long been associated with the deep red color of many tomatoes. A small preliminary study on healthy men and women has shown that the lycopene from orange- and tangerine-colored tomatoes may actually be better absorbed than the lycopene from red tomatoes. That's because the lycopene in deep red tomatoes is mostly trans-lycopene, and the lycopene in orange/tangerine tomatoes is mostly tetra-cis-lycopene. In a recent study, this tetra-cis form of lycopene turned out to be more efficiently absorbed by the study participants. While more research is needed in this area, we're encouraged to find that tomatoes may not have to be deep red in order for us to get great lycopene-related
 Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood - a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. (In a recent South American study of 26 vegetables, tomatoes and green beans came out best in their anti-aggregation properties.) But only recently are researchers beginning to identify some of the more unusual phytonutrients in tomatoes that help provide us with these heart-protective benefits. One of these phytonutrients is a glycoside called esculeoside A; another is flavonoid called chalconaringenin; and yet another is a fatty-acid type molecule called 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid. As our knowledge of unique tomato phytonutrients expands, we are likely to learn more about the unique role played by tomatoes in support of heart health. Tomatoes are also likely to rise further and further toward the top of the list as heart healthy foods.
Nutrients in
1.00 cup raw (180.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin C38.1%

vitamin A29.9%

vitamin K17.7%





vitamin B67%



vitamin B35.3%


vitamin E4.8%

vitamin B14.6%






Calories (32)1%  

Cardivascular Support 
Reduced risk of heart disease is an area of health benefits in which tomatoes truly excel. There are two basic lines of research that have repeatedly linked tomatoes to heart health. The first line of research involves antioxidant support, and the second line of research involves regulation of fats in the bloodstream.  

Supports Bone Health
Interestingly, the connection of tomato intake to bone health involves the rich supply of antioxidant in tomatoes. We don't always think about antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but it is; and tomato lycopene (and other tomato antioxidants) may have a special role to play in this area.  

Anti-Cancer benefits 
The track record for tomatoes as a cancer-protective food should not be surprising, since there is a very large amount of research on tomato antioxidants and a more limited but still important amount of research on tomato anti-inflammatory nutrients. Risk for many cancer types starts out with chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. For this reason, foods that provide us with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support are often foods that show cancer prevention properties. 

The tomato is the fruit of the plant Lycopersicon esculentum. (Botanically speaking, tomato is not only a fruit, but also a berry since it is formed from a single ovary.) Originally, tomato was named after the food family to which it belongs - the Solanaceae (sometimes called "solanoid" or "nightshade") family. 

The French sometimes refer to the tomato as pomme d'amour, meaning "love apple," and in Italy, tomato is sometimes referred to as "pomodoro" or "golden apple," probably referring to tomato varieties that were yellow/orange/tangerine in color. 

Regardless of its name, the tomato is a wonderfully popular and versatile food that comes in over a thousand different varieties that vary in shape, size, and color. There are small cherry tomatoes, bright yellow tomatoes, Italian pear-shaped tomatoes, and the green tomato, famous for its fried preparation in Southern American cuisine. 

Only the fruits of this plant are eaten since the leaves often contain potentially problematic concentrations of certain alkaloids (see Individual Concerns section below). Tomatoes have fleshy internal segments filled with slippery seeds surrounded by a watery matrix. They can be red, pink, yellow, orange/tangerine, green, purple, brown, or black in color.
Read more about tomatoes here :

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