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Red For Your Heart

Red For Your Heart

Whether they think of tomatoes as a fruit or a vegetable, there is no doubt that many people love this delicious, nutrient-dense food. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid, plus they’re loaded with lycopene and lutein. The nutrients and antioxidants found in tomatoes are linked to benefits ranging from firmer skin and bowel regularity to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly prostate cancer.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, young men with diets rich in beta-carotene may experience lower risk of prostate cancer. Recent research also shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition.

Registered dietician Debra Nessel notes that, when cooked, the lycopene content in tomatoes increases by about 35%—in foods like tomato sauce, pasta, soup, ketchup and some juices. But don’t discount the qualities of fresh, raw tomatoes. To reap the most health benefits, pair tomatoes with healthy fats like avocados or olive oil. “Lycopene is fat-soluble, which means combining it with a healthy monounsaturated fat boosts absorption even more,” says Nessel.

Categories: Health Links

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