CTGA Wellness Statement
Tomatoes have unique health attributes and, when consumed within the context of a healthy diet, they can help in dealing with major health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Lycopene – a carotenoid in tomatoes that has been linked to a lowered risk of prostate cancer – apparently does not act alone. Its effect is stronger in combination with other phytochemicals in the fruit.
Lycopene is an antioxidant and the pigment that provides the red color to foods such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, guava, papaya, and watermelon. Many people purchase lycopene-based supplements because of its protective role against prostate and other cancers. Results from this study suggest that a combination of the bioactive compounds might offer the best anti-cancer effect. In other words: Lycopene might be effective only in synergy with other compounds.
"It has been unclear whether lycopene itself is protective. This study suggests that lycopene is one factor involved in reducing the risk of prostate cancer," said John Erdman Jr., PhD, a professor of food science and human nutrition and of internal medicine at Illinois. "This also suggests that taking lycopene as a dietary supplement is not as effective as eating whole tomatoes. We believe people should consume whole tomato products - in pastas, in salads, in tomato juice and even on pizza."
Visit the Tomato Products Wellness Council
A Health Report on Tomatoes
Every rule has an exception, and tomatoes are clearly that when it comes to the old saying, "If it tastes good, it must be bad for you." Recent scientific studies have discovered that tomatoes are not only delicious and versatile, but loaded with health benefits.
BETTER THAN ONE-A-DAY: Skip the vitamin pill and start your day with a glass of tomato juice: One, four-ounce tomato supplies about one-third of the daily RDA for vitamin C, plus a little beta carotene, potassium, folic acid and other B vitamins, iron and fiber.
FIGHT CANCER, EAT A TOMATO: Lycopene, the ingredient that makes a tomato red, can also make you well. Tomatoes are packed with Lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant and has been shown to prevent cancer.
DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS? Lycopene occurs in only a few foods besides tomatoes and since you absorb more lycopene when you eat a little fat with your tomato some olive oil or cheese isn't such a bad thing after all. Go for it!
PIZZA TO THE RESCUE: Consuming tomatoes, tomato sauce and even pizza twice a week is associated with a slightly reduced risk of prostate cancer. Other research has shown benefits against cervical, stomach and other cancers.
GET CANNED, GET HEALTHY! The Lycopene in cooked and processed tomatoes (sauce, paste, salsa, canned tomatoes) is more easily absorbed than in raw tomatoes. Conclusion: let the ketchup flow!