Many of us have head that its better to eat our veggies raw or al dente because the process of cooking decreases the nutrient value of fruits and veggies. I recently started taking a nutrition course and learned that thats not always the case. Over the next few months I'm going to be sharing these little nutrition facts that I'm learning through a blog series called ~Nutrition Nuggets~. Today we are going to take a look at the advantages of cooking Tomatoes.
35% of deaths due to cancer in the United States are related to diet. Food is our lively hood. The foods we eat either make us healthier or less healthy. By making simple changes to the foods we consume we can drastically improve our over all health. Raw Tomatoes contain a higher amount of Vitamin C, But Cooked Tomatoes contain more Lycopene.
Did you know that tomatoes contain important anti-inflammatory nutrients called carotenoids and bioflavonoids.
Key tomato carotenoids are:
- beta-carotene, an orange pigment also found in carrots and sweet potatoes, an important antioxidant that can help to protect against damage from sunlight. Your body also converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.
- lycopene, a red pigment, with demonstrated anti-cancer effects. In Western countries, 85 percent of dietary lycopene can be attributed to the consumption of tomato-based products.
- phytoene and phytofluene, anti-cancer compounds in tomatoes.
Studies indicate that tomato consumption is associated with a potentially reduced risk of:
- ovarian cancer, especially in premenopausal women.
- digestive tract cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum).
- cardiovascular disease.
- asthma and chronic lung disease.
- prostate cancer
American men who eat four-ten servings of tomato products per week have, 18-40 percent reduction in the risk of prostate cancer. Studies of men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer found that increasing consumption of tomato products was associated with a marked decrease in cancer progression. In one study, when men with prostate cancer ate three-quarters of a cup of tomato sauce a day, cooked in various dishes, evidence of cancer regression could be detected in only three weeks for the men in the study. One theory as to the benefit for prostate cancer is due to lycopene.
Lycopene: The cooking process brings out more of the lycopene in tomatoes. Most lycopene is located in the outer pericarp and the skin attached to the insoluble fiber portion of the tomatoes. Thermal processing (cooking) disrupts the cell membranes and cell walls and releases lycopene from the insoluble portion of the tomatoes, which increases the pool of bioaccessible lycopene and improves lycopene absorption.
Eat cooked tomatoes with a small amount of food that contains fat, such as olive oil. Fat helps your body absorb the lycopene and antioxidants in cooked tomatoes. One drawback to canned or jarred tomato products is that they often contain large amounts of added sodium. Too much sodium can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Make your own cooked tomatoes or buy low-sodium versions to make them more nutritious.
I LOVE tomatoes cooked and uncooked! Here are two of my favorite ways to enjoy them! If you are interested in learning more about developing a balanced nutrition plan or beginning an exercise program email Alydia Today! firstname.lastname@example.org.