Lycopene Benefits: Raw vs. Cooked Tomatoes

Lycopene Benefits: Raw vs. Cooked Tomatoes
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We should prepare vegetables in whichever manner entices us to eat the greatest quantity.

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Other studies just out show the same phenomenon. Roasted almonds healthier than raw. The cholesterol-lowering effect of all sorts of good veggies improved by cooking. This new study found that long-term raw foodists had low levels of the phytonutrient lycopene, compared to the general population. Lycopene is the wonderful cancer-fighting red pigment in tomatoes. Well, cooked tomatoes provide four times more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

And cancer prevention is just the beginning. Tomato juice can lower our bad cholesterol 13%. Can successfully treat seasonal allergies, and may even help treat asthma. Treating asthma with tomato sauce. But when we eat tomatoes raw, we’re losing 75% down the drain.

Raw foods are not necessarily healthier. My recommendation is to prepare vegetables in whichever way will get you to eat the most of them.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Garry Knight via Flickr.

Other studies just out show the same phenomenon. Roasted almonds healthier than raw. The cholesterol-lowering effect of all sorts of good veggies improved by cooking. This new study found that long-term raw foodists had low levels of the phytonutrient lycopene, compared to the general population. Lycopene is the wonderful cancer-fighting red pigment in tomatoes. Well, cooked tomatoes provide four times more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

And cancer prevention is just the beginning. Tomato juice can lower our bad cholesterol 13%. Can successfully treat seasonal allergies, and may even help treat asthma. Treating asthma with tomato sauce. But when we eat tomatoes raw, we’re losing 75% down the drain.

Raw foods are not necessarily healthier. My recommendation is to prepare vegetables in whichever way will get you to eat the most of them.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Garry Knight via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

For more on phytonutrient absorption in raw and cooked foods:
Raw Veggies Versus Cooked for Heart Disease
Kale and the Immune System
Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli

And for more on the benefits of the phytonutrient lycopene:
Treating Asthma With Fruits and Vegetables
Why Might Vegetarians Have Less HPV?
The Fruit Whose Juice Is Healthier

Also, check out Raw Food Diet Myths.

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

22 responses to “Lycopene Benefits: Raw vs. Cooked Tomatoes

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      1. And I should believe you because? Sorry I don’t know who you are or where your info came from. I have read both sides of the story and prefer my info to come from someone who knows about nutrition.

        1. Sorry for my short response. Firstly, what are the “good” stuff? Do you speak of the antioxidants and other phytonutrients? Most of these remain stable when cooked and the absorption is enhanced. When you burn nuts this forms carcinogenic compounds which can be considered “free radicals”.

          I have been assigned by Dr. Greger to assist answering people’s nutritional questions. I hope my answer makes more sense to you now.

          1. Thank you for your response, this is very intresting and if true why is it such a popular belief I wonder, so only if you burn them it creates free radicals. I was told above 150 degrees does it but how do you know? Is it the oils companies use that make it less healthy when you buy them roasted?

        1. Indeed, roasting nuts produces more advanced glycation end products when roasted (although less compared with animal products) and lipid oxidation can occur when roasted. Raw is probably preferable although occasional roasted nuts will not be deadly.

          From Jeff Novick
          AGE Amounts In Food (per serving)

          Starchy vegetables
          Corn, 20
          Sweet potato, roasted, 72
          White potato, boiled, 17
          White potato, french fries, homemade, 694
          White potato, french fries, fast food, 1,522
          White potato, roasted, 45 min, prepared with 5 mL oil, 218

          Grains/legumes/Cereals
          Bean, red kidney, raw, 116
          Bean, red kidney, canned, 191
          Bean, red kidney, cooked, 1 h, 298
          Pasta, cooked 8 min, 112
          Bran Flakes, 10
          Corn Flakes, 70
          Frosted Flakes, 128
          Oatmeal, dry, instant, 4
          Oatmeal, cooked, instant 25

          Bread
          Whole wheat, center, 16
          Whole wheat, center toasted, 25
          Whole wheat, crust, 22
          Whole wheat, crust, toasted, 36
          Pita pocket, 16

          Fruits
          Apple 13
          Apple, baked, 45
          Banana, 9
          Cantaloupe, 20
          Raisins, 36

          High Fat Plant Foods
          Almonds, roasted, 1,995
          Avocado, 473
          Cashews, roasted 2,942
          Olive, ripe 501
          Peanut butter, smooth 2,255
          Walnuts, roasted 2,366

          High Fat Animal Products
          Cream cheese, 3,265
          Mayonnaise, 9,470
          Butter, 1,324

          Beef
          Frankfurter, boiled 7 min, 6,736
          Frankfurter, broiled 5 min, 10,143
          Hamburger, fried 6 min, 2,375
          Hamburger, fast food, 4,876
          Meatball, boiled in sauce, 2,567
          Shoulder cut, broiled, 5,367
          Bacon, microwave, 1,173
          Deli ham, smoked, 2,114
          Pork chop, pan fried, 4,277

          Chicken breast, skinless cubes
          Steamed 10 min and broiled 12 min, 5,071
          Pan fried 10 min and boiled 12 min, 5,706

          Chicken breast, skinless cutlet
          Raw, 692
          Boiled 1 h, 1,011
          Broiled 15 min, 5,245
          Fried 8 min, 6,651
          Roasted, barbecue sauce, 4,291
          Roasted, breaded, 4,102
          Roasted, breaded, microwave, 1 min, 5,157

          Fish
          Salmon, raw, 502
          Salmon, smoked, 515
          Trout, raw, 705
          Trout, roasted 25 min, 1,924

          Cheese
          American, processed, 2,603
          American, processed, low fat, 1,425
          Brie, 1,679
          Cottage cheese, 1,744
          Feta 2,527
          Mozzarella, part skim, 503
          Parmesan, grated, 2,535

          http://jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2008/6/5_Starchy_Foods,_AGEs_and_You!.html

  1. I have read conflicting evidence regarding the value ( or not ) of almond skins: pro says flavonoids good; con says oxalic acid bad. Is there scientific evidence to further explain this? Thank you.

  2. I’ve noticed at my local stores all the roasted nuts have added oil. Not sure but I guess it’s common to use oils in the roasting process.

  3. Peas Chick It Out

    -2 cups cooked* chick peas
    -9 white button mushrooms, quartered
    -1 red onion, chopped
    -1 small rutabaga, cubed
    -6-8 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
    -1 shallot, chopped
    -6 cloves garlic, minced

    Mince garlic and set aside. Cook tomatoes in a covered saucepan on high
    heat until tomatoes release water. Turn heat to medium and continue
    cooking while preparing remaining ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients, except garlic, and continue cooking on low-medium heat for as long as time allows (1-2 hours if possible). Stir in garlic 10 minutes before serving.

    *If using canned beans select those packaged in BPA-free cans such as
    Eden Organic brand. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bpa-plastic-and-male-sexual-dysfunction/ and with no salt added.

    ~complements of plant-based emporium

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