Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Tomato a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Though tomatoes may be a bit pricier than, say, root veg, they are cheap compared to most other fruits.  You can almost always find some kind of fresh tomatoes on sale and the tinned ones are perpetually on multi-buy offers.  They add intense flavour to all sorts of traditional dishes.

 A medium tomato (123g) has only 22 calories.  It contains 20% of the GDA of vitamin C,  26% of the GDA of vitamin A, 12% of the GDA of vitamin K and 8% of the GDA of potassium.

Tomatoes contain a higher concentration of lycopene than any other food.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant which helps to prevent cell damage.  Several studies have found that a diet high in lycopene lowers the risk of certain cancers including prostate, lung, breast and stomach.  Lycopene has also been found to protect the bones from oxidative stress, lowering the risk of osteoporosis. 

More of the lycopene in tomatoes is absorbed by the intestines when they are cooked than when they are eaten raw, and still more is absorbed when they are eaten with fat.  A tomato salad with an olive oil dressing is healthy.  Homemade tomato sauce with olive oil is even better.  Tinned tomatoes retain all their lycopene.

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