The red in tomatoes, caused by a substance called Lycopene, could help you to be in pink of health, reveal an article in ‘The Times Wellness – 2007‘.
The so-called new age diseases are associated with deteriorated quality of eating, coupled with unhealthy lifestyle patterns. This in turn has led to considerable increase in diseases such as Cancers, Heart ailments, Diabetes, and bone degeneration disorders.
Although the common emphasis of liberally consuming vegetables and fruits is true, there are increasing scientific evidences that indicate use of food as medicine in ensuring better quality lifestyle.
The old stereotypes, pomegranates and apples have made way to new-age wonder foods such as the tomato. Scientific evidences reveal that ripe tomatoes have immense potential to prevent onset of diseases. Regular consumption of tomatoes has been associated with decreased risk of chronic degenerative diseases.
As per the studies, the observed effects on health are due to the presence of several antioxidant molecules, particularly, Lycopene. This substance renders the characteristic red color to tomatoes. Lycopene is an open chain, unsaturated carotenoid, an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals which damage the body cells.
The modern nutrition mantra is ˜food based rather than ˜nutrient based, as studies have proved that it is the complete package of nutrients in food that renders the protective effect. Hence it is advisable to use tomatoes as a whole, rather than focusing only on lycopene. Further, the chemical form of lycopene in tomatoes is converted in a manner so as to be easily absorbed in the body, through the temperature changes involved in food processing. Hence, more tomato based products such as ketchups, soups, juices without addition of preservatives, could form a part of diet.
Lycopene decreases bad cholesterol levels (LDL) in the blood, while boosting good cholesterol (HDL). It also hinders LDL from getting oxidized, and thus helps protect against heart ailments. Lycopene also helps in prevention of Colon and Prostate Cancer, AIDS, and Asthma, and in maintaining good bone health.
Lycopene content gets maximized when the peel and seeds of tomatoes are used. The yellow-colored gelatinous substance around the seeds helps protect against heart ailments.
Efforts are on to identify better breeds of tomato with higher lycopene content, and the other components involved in the beneficial attributes of tomato, as it cannot be limited to Lycopene alone.