Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed.
Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest | 978-580-9140 |

Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 7/12/2016


   Native to Central, South, and southern North America, the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which includes the potato, chili peppers, and eggplant. Considered a vegetable, the tomato is a fruit. No matter, fruit or vegetable, the tomato is a nutrient dense, low-calorie, delicious food. The United States Department of Agriculture reports, “A 1/2 cup of tomatoes has 15% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A and 20% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. A ½ cup serving has only 15 calories, 2 g sugars, and 4 g of total carbohydrate and provides 1 g of protein. Tomatoes are fat, cholesterol and sodium free.”
   Lycopene (also known as rhodopurpurin) is a carotenoid pigment associated with the vibrant red color of many tomatoes. Lycopene plays a vital role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and age-related eye diseases. Medical research further supports lycopene’s health benefits in the prevention and treatment of several different types of cancer including cancer of the breast, cervix, skin, stomach, bladder, lungs, and prostrate. Antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamins E and C and beta-carotene, found in tomatoes help control the destructive activity of free radicals. Free radicals are compounds in the body that aggressively attack and damage cell membranes. Numerous scientific studies indicate that the uncontrolled activity of free radicals is linked to the proliferation of many types of cancers. 
   A study, conducted at Harvard University, reports that men who included tomatoes and tomato products in their diets twice a week reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by one-third verses men in the study who never eat tomatoes. 

   Although lycopene is present in all red vegetables and fruits, its concentration is highest in tomatoes. In fact, processed tomato products, including pizza sauce, tomato juice, and ketchup are the richest source of dietary lycopene. These processed tomato products account for more than 80% of the total intake of lycopene in the American diet. Tomatoes appear not to lose their nutrient value when cooked. Heat is an integral factor in releasing antioxidants from tomatoes. Absorption of lycopene is improved by adding a small, but essential amount of oil. Dr. Mridula Chopra and researchers at the University of Portsmouth, School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Portsmouth, England, tested the effect of lycopene in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Dr. Chopra, the Director of Research, reports, “This simple chemical reaction was shown to occur at lycopene concentrations that can easily be achieved by eating processed tomatoes.” 
   Maintaining good health and preventing disease is a compelling reason for loading your market basket with fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, or for adventuring in some gardening at home! Tomatoes are fairly easy to grow and the result is delicious! :)

Tags: canning tomatoes  
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Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed.