Nutritional Information for Tomatoes
Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables their red color. This includes foods such as tomatoes ( including salsa and pasta sauce), watermelon, and grapefruit. Tomatoes are likely the best source of lycopene, and cooking enhances their antioxidant potential. So go big on the marinara sauce at your next Italian dining!
Benefits of Tomatoes
Cancer Prevention Benefits
Men eating more lycopene- rich foods in their diets have been found to lower their risk of developing prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes vs. raw have up to 4 times the lycopene content. Even prostate cancer survivors may do better when eating more lycopene-rich foods. It’s important to note the benefit only comes from foods, not lycopene supplements. In fact, men trying to dose up on lycopene supplements thinking they are getting the same benefits as foods with lycopene have been shown to have an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Men's Health Benefits
Tomato products, including ketchup and pizza sauce believe it or not, make up for the majority of lycopene consumed in the U.S. Although freshly cooked tomatoes are most healthful, the good news is that even salsa, tomato juice, and pizza sauce can help prevent prostate cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes have an ability to reduce the formation of platelets – blood-clotting factors in the blood that prevents bleeding. They work like aspirin does to thin the blood, except unlike aspirin tomatoes don’t damage the stomach lining overtime. The cholesterol-lowering and antiplatelet forming ability of tomatoes make them a great choice for men at risk for heart disease. Lastly, the antioxidants found in tomatoes can build-up in the skin of humans that eat them and help protect against sunburn.
Ways to Use Tomatoes
- Roast tomatoes with Italian spices and add to soups, stews, pasta dishes.
- Enjoy raw or stewed tomatoes on sandwiches or wraps.
- Pack cherry tomatoes for travel or hikes.
- Make homemade marinara sauce or salsa.
- Prepare a quick bruschetta with toasted baguette, extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes slices, and bail.
- Add raw or cooked tomatoes to bean, grain, or green salads.
- Toss in tacos or burritos.
- Make homemade salsa.
- Slice and put on top of avocado toast.
Resources for Tomatoes
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Tomatoes
Nutrition Facts: www.NutritionFacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Tomatoes
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- Gontero P, Marra G, Soria F, et al. A randomized double-blind placebo controlled phase I-II study on clinical and molecular effects of dietary supplements in men with precancerous prostatic lesions. Chemoprevention or “chemopromotion”? Prostate. 2015;75(11):1177-86.
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