Tomatoes are rich in bioactive substances, vitamins and fiber. They are not only high in vitamin C, but also high in lycopene. This powerful antioxidant gives them their red color. Lycopene has been scientifically shown to protect against cancer, including prostate, pancreatic, breast, stomach and lung cancer. Tomatoes are also one of the richest sources of beta-carotene belonging to the carotenoid family of bioactive substances. Bioactive substances are plant molecules that can prevent and /or suppress disease in the human body. In addition, tomatoes are an excellent source of flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol which inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Eating tomatoes and tomato products may also help lower cholesterol, improve blood vessel function, increase the elasticity of the walls of the arteries, and protect the skin from damage if exposed to the sun for too long. In addition, the tomato helps against obesity and acts as a preventative against Alzheimer's disease.

Scientific evidence that tomatoes protect against cancer

In research into cancer-fighting foods, tomatoes have scored by far the highest. In a review of 72 studies published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a researcher and professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, concluded that eating tomatoes and tomato-based products led to higher blood lycopene levels and reduced the potential for various forms of cancer. He had previously discovered that the risk of prostate cancer was one third (21 to 43%) lower in men who ate tomatoes and tomato products at least twice a week. Women also benefit greatly from lycopene. A study of 109 women showed that women with higher blood lycopene levels were less likely to have breast cancer. More cancer-fighting benefits came to light when scientists at the University of Milan put healthy young women on a tomato-free diet for three weeks, followed by three weeks on a tomato-rich diet. In the latter diet, the lycopene level increased and the damage to DNA in the lymph cells by free radicals decreased by about 33%. A study conducted among middle-aged men associated low levels of lycopene and beta-carotene in the blood with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. In this case, the benefits of lycopene are that it helps prevent heart disease.

Tomatoes are good for the bones

The tomato provides protection to bone tissue. In a scientific study in which women were deprived of lycopene for four weeks, the researchers saw changes in bone tissue that indicate deterioration. How exactly lycopene strengthens bones is not yet known, but it is clear that it promotes bone growth and maintenance of healthy bones.

Fat is required to absorb lycopene

It is important to know that lycopene is fat soluble. This means that fat must be present in your digestive system to effectively absorb lycopene from tomatoes. Therefore, eat tomatoes with, for example, olive oil.

Is tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

Although botanically a fruit, in 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the tomato was a vegetable. From a physiological point of view, this is correct because tomatoes already have the same digestion requirements as vegetables.

When fresh tomatoes are not available…

Out of season, when fresh tomatoes are not available, canned tomatoes are a good substitute, for example, for use in soups and sauces. Tomato paste is rich in lycopene as well. When buying canned tomatoes or tomato paste, pay attention to the ingredients list to ensure that no sugar and additives have been added.