Tomatoes and HealthIn November, 1998, a press release from the Heinz Institute of Nutritional Sciences touted the benefits of lycopene, a dietary carotenoid found in high concentrations in processed tomato products, including ketchup and canned tomato products.
Lycopene is an antioxidant which purportedly fights the free radicals that can interfere with normal cell growth and activity. These free radicals can potentially lead to cancer, heart disease and premature aging.
Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C (concentrated the most in the juice sacs surrounding the seeds) and contain goodly amounts of potassium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin B.
As a source of fiber, one medium tomato will equal one slice of whole wheat bread with a penalty of only 35 calories.
Although green tomatoes are wonderful when cooked or pickled, they should be avoided in large amounts when raw. Green tomatoes contain large amounts of tomatine, a toxin in the same alkaloid family as solanine which may be found in green potatoes, another member of the nightshade family.
Unfortunately, the tomato is included in the list of the top ten foods to which most people are allergic.
More about Tomatoes and Tomato Recipes: Tomato History
Tomato Lore and Legends
Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable? FAQ
Vine-ripened Tomatoes FAQ
Tomato Selection and Storage
Commercially-Grown and Hydroponic Tomatoes
Are there male and female tomatoes? FAQ
Tomatoes and Health
Tomato Cooking Tips and Hints
Tomato Equivalents and Substitutions
Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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