Fibers, minerals, vitamins … there are many nutritional benefits while eating tomatoes. But the tomato can be distinguished from other fruits and vegetables by its high content of lycopene.
Lycopene is the pigment that gives the tomato its beautiful red color.
Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant! It allows to fight effectively against free radicals present in the body.
Small zoom on the free radicals… These are substances produced daily by the body to protect cells from outside aggressions (pollution, stress, smoke from cigarette, prolonged sun exposure…). The problem is that when free radicals are in excess in the body, they can backfire us and attack our own cells. They are then the cause of our cells premature aging and implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. The antioxidants role is simple: they neutralize the attack of free radicals against our cells.
The lycopene antioxidant power is higher if the tomato is cooked, processed (in sauce or soup, for example) or consumed with a lipids source.
Present in the tomato cell envelope, lycopene is released under the action of heat or grinding. The envelope walls broke and lycopene is released which can quickly and easily assimilated by the body.
In addition, lycopene is fat-soluble, that is to say it is better assimilated by the body if it adds fat as oil. It is better assimilated by the body when fat like oil is added to it.
For raw tomatoes lovers, who want to have their lycopene dose, choose very red and ripe tomatoes and serve them with a little olive oil.
However, unlike lycopene, some of the tomato vitamins and minerals are lost during cooking. This is the case of vitamin C, which is particularly sensitive to heat and therefore to cooking.
The essential thing to remember:
- To alternate between raw tomato and tomato cooked in your plate!
- Try to vary the forms for an optimal contribution in vitamins and minerals: raw tomatoes in salad, juice, soup, sauce or can of peeled tomatoes or mixed… However, avoid eating too many tomato concentrate (salt) and ketchup (salt and sugar).