About The Buzz: Tomato benefits extend beyond cancer and heart disease?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
In addition to tomato products helping to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, they have other potential benefits as well, including fighting inflammation & sunrays, and maximizing bone health.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Tomato products are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber—all in a neat low-fat, low-calorie package. One cup of canned tomatoes contains 41 calories, 0 grams fat, 2.4 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 37% Daily Value (DV) vitamin C, 8% DV vitamin A, 9% DV vitamin K, 13% DV vitamin B6, 13% DV iron, 13% DV potassium, and 9% DV manganese. Tomato products are also rich in the powerful antioxidant group, carotenoids, which have been shown to inactivate free radicals, protect against cancer, and slow development of atherosclerosis. The most plentiful carotenoid is lycopene and tomato products are responsible for more than 80% of the lycopene in the U.S. diet. Research suggests that lycopene may be a big factor behind the health-protective effects of tomato products:
- Fighting Inflammation. Tomato products may help cool down inflammation, which is becoming more widely understood as a root in many chronic diseases. In two recent studies, scientists discovered that people who eat a high-tomato diet have lower levels of inflammatory markers.1,2
- Defense Against Sun Damage. Tomato products may offer natural protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays. After 12 weeks of tomato consumption, German researchers discovered that sunburn formation was reduced in all groups.3
- Maximize Bone Health. Laboratory research has hinted that carotenoid intake may protect bone health. A study analyzing data from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study found that people with the highest total carotenoid intake in their diets had the lowest risk of hip fractures.4
- Glucose Controlling Benefits. Women that consumed at least 10 servings of tomato products per week were 66% less likely to have elevated HbA1c levels, a marker of glycemic control.5
Lycopene in processed tomatoes is better absorbed than that of fresh tomatoes. In addition, the lycopene in tomatoes appears to have synergistic effects with other nutrients in foods. So eat plenty of cooked tomato products, such as canned tomatoes, tomato soup, tomato juice, and salsa.
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