Tomatoes in salads, stuffed tomatoes, baked tomatoes, tomatoes are the juicy ingredient that you should never miss, especially in this season when these vegetables are full of solar energy. And then they are healthy, in all their forms, even a simple tomato sauce becomes a real pharmacy. So let's find out all the properties of tomatoes based, as always, on scientific research.
Tomato sauce and lycopene, properties
Tomatoes are a precious source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. The lycopene of tomatoes is made available by cooking processes, even better if the cooked tomato is served in combination with a fat, such as extra virgin olive oil. The tomato sauce, but also dried tomatoes in oil, are therefore excellent in this sense. Studies have shown that lycopene is associated with a reduced risk of cellular degeneration thanks to its anti-free radical action and its supportive effect on the immune system . Lycopene helps reduce the risk of several types of cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and stomach cancers . Lycopene protects the cardiovascular system, being vasodilator, hypoglycemic, anti-arteriosclerotic and anti-inflammatory, in fact low levels of lycopene are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease .
Finally, lycopene also has cholesterol-lowering properties since it influences the activity of an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of cholesterol . It should also be emphasized that cooked tomato drains the liver and that cooking almost completely eliminates the acidity of this vegetable (Aufiero, The nutritional and therapeutic role of foods).
Tomatoes in salads, properties
When tomatoes are eaten fresh, like in salads, then we can fill up on nutrients. In fact, tomatoes bring mineral salts such as potassium, iron, vitamins, such as A, B, C, E and K, the latter important for coagulation and bone health, folate, carotenoids, such as lutein and beta carotene, which help to protect heart and eye health and fight DNA damage . Tomatoes also bring phenolic compounds, among which tannins stand out, with proven antitumor, antiviral and antibacterial action, flavonoids, which protect the stomach from degeneration, and phenolic acids, such as chlorogenic acid, which protect DNA from mutations . Tomatoes also have an important anti-inflammatory action, thanks to substances contained in them such as rutin, quercetin and carotenoids . Finally, raw tomatoes stimulate the action of the liver, due to the degree of acidity and the content of vitamin C (Aufiero, The nutritional and therapeutic role of foods).
Tomatoes, interesting pieces of news
Among all the tomato varieties that we can find on the market, the small ones, such as cherry or Pachino tomatoes, are the ones most rich in nutrients.
Then, it is worth noting that tomatoes, thanks to their content in malic acid, arabic acid and lactic acid, facilitate digestion, increase salivation and stimulate appetite (Aufiero, The nutritional and therapeutic role of foods).