Today tomatoes have become a favorite
fruit-vegetable, eaten world wide, both fresh and processed, more than
any other fruit or vegetable. Health wise, this is a good thing
because tomatoes contain compounds that help prevent a number of
health conditions such as heart disease, cancer and cataracts.
Tomatoes contain a red pigment called
lycopene, a compound which helps to neutralize free radicals before
before they can cause damage. Recent studies show that lycopene have
greater cancer fighting potential than beta-carotene.
In a large study involving thousands of
men, researchers found that those who ate several servings a week of
tomatoes, whether raw, cooked or in the form of sauce, were able to
reduce their risk of development prostate cancer significantly. Since
lycopene is a very strong antioxidant and concentrates in the
prostate, men with high levels of lycopene run lower risk of prostate
cancer. It has been found that lycopene is also a powerful inhibitor
of breast and lung cancer cells. It also protects people from stomach,
colon and rectal cancers.
New discoveries have found that tomatoes
contain two powerful compounds, coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid,
which block the formation of nitrosamines which are cancer causing
Tomatoes also contain lots of vitamin C
and vitamin A, both of which help to boost immunity and help prevent
cancer. Because it is rich in Vitamin A, consuming tomatoes may help
protect against eye diseases such as night blindness and short
sightedness. Eating tomatoes may also prevent the formation of urinary
calculi or stone. It has been proven that the lack of vitamin A an C
and recurrent urinary tract infections are among the factors in the
formation of calculi.
To get the most when buying fresh
tomatoes, choose those with a brilliant shade of red. Ripe red
tomatoes contain much more beta-carotene than green immature ones. For
convenience buy canned tomatoes and tomato sauce both of which contain
full complement lycopene.