Saturday, August 12, 2017
Tomatoes ~ Brainy Fruit for Life!
Tomatoes are rich in flavonoids and other phytochemicals that have anticarcinogenic properties. They're also an excellent source of lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, which is most concentrated in the jelly-like substance that surrounds the seeds, as well as vitamins A, E and B-complex vitamins, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.
Tomatoes are actually a fruit and not a vegetable; they contain a number of valuable nutrients, and according to recent research, organically-grown tomatoes are even more nutritious than their conventionally-grown counterparts. One of the most well-known nutrients in tomatoes is lycopene — the compound that gives tomato its deep red color.
Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that has been shown to have potent anti cancerous properties. This compound is not naturally produced in your body, so it must be supplied via your diet. Other fruits and vegetables also contain lycopene, but none has the high concentration of lycopene that the tomato boasts. Interestingly, when cooked, the bioavailability of lycopene increases rather than decreases, as is the case with many other raw foods, as heat has a tendency to destroy valuable nutrients.
That said, you're best off avoiding canned tomatoes and tomato sauces as can liners tend to contain potent estrogen mimics such as bisphenol A (BPA), which is also a toxic endocrine disrupting chemical. Your best bet is to make your own organic tomato sauce from scratch, or buy organic sauce sold in glass jars.
Lycopene's antioxidant activity has long been suggested to be more powerful than other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, and recent research revealed it may significantly reduce your stroke risk (while other antioxidants did not). The 2012 analysis9 followed over 1,000 men in their mid-40s to mid-50s for more than 12 years.
After controlling for other stroke risk factors, such as older age and diabetes, they found that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest. Other antioxidants, including alpha carotene, beta-carotene, alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) and retinol (vitamin A), showed no such benefit.
So, serve up the tomatoes any and every which way you can...