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Tomatoes good for health - even on pizza - report confirms

By Colin Ricketts - 02 Mar 2011 18:19:0 GMT
Tomatoes good for health - even on pizza - report confirms

Tomatoes are good for you according to a new review, and even better if you cook them – which is good news for Americans, who make the red vegetable one of their favorite foods, and anyone else who likes pizza.

The review was published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine and found that tomatoes helped reduce the risk of cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease among other conditions.

Away from starchy produce like potatoes, Americans eat more tomatoes, fresh and prepared, than any other vegetables according to researchers Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS, and Kristin Reimers, PhD, RD of the National Center for Food Safety & Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology and ConAgra Foods, Inc.

The magic ingredient is an antioxidant called lycopene, which tomatoes are rich in and, crucially, becomes more easily absorbed by us after cooking.

Alongside lycopene, the tomato is also anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic and may help stave off some cancers.

Recent research shows that tomato eaters are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, ultraviolet light–induced skin damage, and cognitive dysfunction.

Away from the laboratory bench, tomatoes are a wonderful resource for healthy eating because they're cheap, easy to produce and – best of all – most people enjoy eating them.

''Leveraging emerging science about tomatoes and tomato products may be one simple and effective strategy to help individuals increase vegetable intake, leading to improved overall eating patterns, and ultimately, better health.'' write the authors.