It’s a fruit! It’s a vegetable! Doesn’t matter; it’s
a tomato! Across the globe, many people love this delicious, nutrient-dense
food. Not only are they a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid,
they’re also loaded with lycopene and lutein. The benefits tomatoes
offer range from firmer skin and bowel regularity to reduced risk of cardiovascular
disease and cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
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 let that
deter you from snacking on a fresh, raw tomato. 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.
As well, 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.