We get more lycopene (a heart disease and cancer fighting red pigment) from cooked tomatoes than raw. It is also important to add a little bit of fat to your meal when eating foods such as tomatoes to maximize the body’s absorption of phytonutrients like lycopene (by incorporating nuts or seeds). Eating whole foods such as tomatoes is the best way to get lycopene; supplements are not an effective source. Surprisingly, tomato juice actually has twice the antioxidant power of regular tomatoes and has an anti-inflammatory effect as well. For most cancers, tomatoes have not been found to suppress tumor cell growth. The lycopene in tomatoes may, however, be protective against prostate cancer.

Cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce in an aluminum pot is not advised, as eating aluminum has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, at one point in American history the tomato was widely believed to be poisonous rather than healthful. This explains the origin of the “tomato effect,” a term used to describe the denial by the medical establishment of highly effective therapies because they go against the conventional wisdom.

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
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