Eat Smart

by: Jean Carper

Jean Carper is the author

of Your Miracle Brain


Have you heard the latest news? If not, find out why

TOMATOES are suddenly today’s hottest health food.

Call it the revenge of the tomatoes. Until the 1800s, Americans considered tomatoes a poisonous fruit, either rarely eaten or boiled for hours to destroy its “toxins.” In traditional nutrition, tomatoes are wimps with some vitamin C and a smidgen of beta carotene.

But recently, scientists have discovered spectacular secrets in tomatoes–- various disease-fighting antioxidants, including the famous red pigment lycopene and an anti-clotting agent known as “P3 tomato factor.” Now, these discoveries have transformed the tomato into a hot health food, increasingly believed to help prevent and even reverse disease.

Experts urge you and I to eat more tomatoes in any form----fresh or canned, raw or cooked, or processed in soups or as sauce, paste, juice or ketchup. The latest remarkable reasons why:

Fights cancer. Researchers have known for some time that tomatoes might help prevent certain types of cancer; in a Harvard study, eating lycopene-rich tomato sauce 2 to 4 times a week cut prostate cancer risk by 35%. Now, the news is-----lycopene may even shrink your existing prostrate tumors. Before surgery, one group of prostrate cancer patients at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan was given lycopene extract for three weeks; another group got a placebo. Tumors in the lycopene group were smaller and less likely to spread.

Protect lungs. Eating tomatoes helps shield the lungs from bad air and cigarette smoke. In a University of North Carolina test, people were exposed to high levels of ozone, an air pollutant. Those who drank a 12-ounce can of tomato-heavy V-8 juice daily in the three-week test showed 20% less DNA damage in lung cells than those not getting V-8. Other research suggest lycopene helps ward off lung cancer.

Combats heart disease. Tomatoes can make us less prone to clogged arteries and heart disease. Dramatic new evidence from Finland shows that middle-aged with low lycopene are three times more apt to suffer heart attacks r strokes and 18% more apt to have narrow carotid (neck) arteries. Probable reasons: Tomatoes help detoxify bad LDL cholesterol hindering plaque building. In one text alone, eating 60 .milligrams of lycopene daily (the amount in 1½ cups of tomato sauce or 2.2 pounds of fresh tomatoes) for three months reduced LDL cholesterol buy 14%.

Also, an aspirin-like substance in the yellow jelly around tomato seeds helps thwart blood clots, according to recent Scottish research. The amount in only four (4) tomatoes reduced the clot-provoking blood stickiness by a surprising 72%. (Yes, 72%)

Vision saver. Tomatoes may protect the eyes by deterring macular degeneration, a cause of vision loss in older people, suggests new University of Maryland research that found high levels of lycopene in eye tissue.

Skin saver. New German research shows that eating 1.3 ounces of tomato paste daily reduced sun-induced skin damage by 40%.

Brain food. Tomatoes are anti-aging nourishment for the brain. In a classic study, women with the highest lycopene blood levels remained the most active mentally and physically.

To get the best benefit....

* Eat at least 5 weekly servings of tomato-based foods.

* Eat tomatoes cooked, processed and prepared with a little olive oil.

         Heating helps release lycopene.

         You also get the most lycopene in concentrated, processed     products such as:

                  tomato paste and sauce, canned tomatoes, juice, soup and

                  (my favorite, Editor’s note) ketchup. (Anyway you spell it)

Still, Americans get half their lycopene from raw tomatoes. In new tests at Ohio State University, over a two-week period, blood lycopene was raised 192% by a daily serving of tomato sauce, 122% by tomato soup and 92% by V-8 juice. Other research shows that adding olive oil to tomatoes even increases lycopene absorption.

* Eat a variety. Lycopene isn’t the sole tomato power either. For example, tomato soup has more antioxidant activity than can be attributed to lycopene alone, meaning it contains other antioxidants.

Raw tomatoes are lower in lycopene but still may be good at combating blood clots.


Source: Copyright @ 2001 USA WEEKEND

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