5. They contain an important phytonutrient called lycopene that has been proven in studies to fight aging and have anti-cancer properties. It appears to be particularly effective against prostate and colon cancers.
6. Lycopene found in tomatoes even protects our genetic material against damage and the resulting disease.
7. Tomatoes stimulate the production of the amino acid carnitine which has been shown in research to speed the body’s fat-burning capacity by over 30 percent.
8. Excellent sources of vitamin C, tomatoes can help keep your immune system strong.
9. Lack of lycopene in a menopausal woman’s diet has been linked to osteoporosis.
10. Because tomatoes are a rich source of the phytonutrients beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, they can help improve vision and protect your eyes from degeneration.
11. They are delicious and so versatile! They can be enjoyed in pasta, salads, soups, stews, wraps, curries, and many of your favorite dishes.
Some people claim that tomatoes should be eaten cooked for maximum nutritional value. That’s not the full story however. While lycopene is best absorbed from cooked tomatoes, vitamin C and the enzymes found in tomatoes are best if eaten uncooked. Just adding a dash of olive oil on your raw tomatoes significantly increases the absorption of lycopene. Eating tomatoes in a variety of foods helps ensure the best nutrient absorption. Relish cooked tomatoes in soups, stews, and curries. Enjoy raw ones in salads, sandwiches, and salsas.
Research also shows that the form of lycopene found in yellow and orange tomatoes is better absorbed than from red tomatoes. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the red ones, but throw in some multi-colored heirloom tomatoes into the mix too.
Adapted from The Life Force Diet. Subscribe to my free e-zine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.