What better food than tomatoes to discuss this week. The tomatoe can be placed in just about any meal, and prepared in hundreds of ways, including raw, grilled, baked, chopped, and sauteed. The nutritional value is excellent, and a food you need to incorporate into your diet. Below is valuable information on tomatoes. Share these links and think how you can add this wonderful food into your diet.
There are few vegetables that better mark the summer months than the sweet juiciness of a vine-ripened tomato. Although tomatoes are now available year-round, the truly wonderful qualities of tomatoes are the best when they are in season from July through September.
In the area of food and phytonutrient research, nothing has been hotter in the last several years than studies on the lycopene in tomatoes. This carotenoid found in tomatoes (and everything made from them) has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. The antioxidant function of lycopene-its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage-has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells. Prevention of heart disease has been shown to be another antioxidant role played by lycopene.
Organic ketchup delivers three times as much of the cancer-fighting carotenoid, lycopene, as non-organic brands.
Lycopene has been shown to help protect not only against prostate, but breast, pancreatic and intestinal cancers, especially when consumed with fat-rich foods, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. (This is because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats.)
When Betty Ishida and Mary Chapman at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Albany, CA, decided to investigate whether the lycopene content of purple and green varieties of ketchup was comparable to that of the traditional red, they tested lycopene levels and antioxidant activity in 13 ketchup brands: 6 popular ones, 3 organic and 2 store brands from fast-food chains.
Purple, green and red varieties of ketchup all delivered similar amounts of lycopene (although dark red ketchup contained slightly more), but a major difference was discovered between organic and non-organic brands. Organic ketchups far surpassed their non-organic counterparts' in lycopene content.
One organic brand delivered 183 micrograms of lycopene per gram of ketchup, about five times as much per weight as a tomato.
Non-organic brands averaged 100 micrograms per gram, with one fast-food sample providing just 60 micrograms per gram.
Bottomline: It seems highly likely the same rationale will apply to all tomato products, so, for the most lycopene, choose the deepest red organic ketchup, tomato sauce, juice and other tomato products.
A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in patients with colorectal adenomas, a type of polyp that is the precursor for most colorectal cancers, blood levels of lycopene were 35% lower compared to study subjects with no polyps. Blood levels of beta-carotene also tended to be 25.5% lower, although according to researchers, this difference was not significant. In their final (multiple logistic regression) analysis, only low levels of plasma lycopene (less than 70 microgram per liter) and smoking increased the likelihood of colorectal adenomas, but the increase in risk was quite substantial: low levels of lycopene increased risk by 230% and smoking by 302%.
Tomatoes have been shown to be helpful in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
A 14-month study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute underscores the importance of a healthy whole foods diet rich in tomatoes in the prevention of prostate cancer. In this study, laboratory animals fed a lycopene-rich diet and treated with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (a carcinogen) and testosterone to induce prostate cancer had a similar risk of death from prostate cancer as rats fed a control diet. In contrast, animals fed whole tomato powder were 26% less likely to die of prostate cancer. By the end of the study, 80% of the control group and 72% of the animals fed lycopene had succumbed to prostate cancer, while only 62% of the animals fed whole tomato powder had died.
In addition to the controls and those animals receiving lycopene or tomato powder, each group was also divided into two sub-groups, one of which was given 20% less food than the other sub-group. Animals on the energy-restricted, tomato-based diet fared best of all, showing a 32% drop in their risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Researchers concluded this was due to the fact that tomatoes contain not merely lycopene, but a variety of protective phytonutrients and suggest that the lycopene found in human prostate tissue and the blood of animals and humans who remain free of prostate cancer may indicate exposure to higher amounts of not just lycopene but other compounds working in synergy with it. Study leader, Dr. Steven Clinton, Ohio State University, commented, "Our findings strongly suggest that risks of poor dietary habits cannot be reversed simply by taking a pill…if we want the health benefits of tomatoes, we should eat tomatoes or tomato products and not rely on lycopene supplements alone."
|vitamin C||34.38 mg||57.3||27.3||excellent|
|vitamin A||1121.40 IU||22.4||10.7||excellent|
|vitamin K||14.22 mcg||17.8||8.5||excellent|
|molybdenum||9.00 mcg||12.0||5.7||very good|
|potassium||399.60 mg||11.4||5.4||very good|
|manganese||0.19 mg||9.5||4.5||very good|
|dietary fiber||1.98 g||7.9||3.8||very good|
|chromium||9.00 mcg||7.5||3.6||very good|
|vitamin B1 (thiamin)||0.11 mg||7.3||3.5||very good|
|vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.14 mg||7.0||3.3||good|
|vitamin B3 (niacin)||1.13 mg||5.6||2.7||good|
|vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||0.09 mg||5.3||2.5||good|
|vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||0.44 mg||4.4||2.1||good|
|vitamin E||0.68 mg||3.4||1.6||good|