Prevent Cancer With Antioxidant-Rich Diet

Lycopene Helps you fight Cancer

Prevent Cancer With Tomatoes
Credit: Renee Silverman's Photostream

Prevent Diseases With Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Prevent Infections With Tomatoes


Tomato is a globally recognized vegetable in the culinary arena .  Its flavor, aroma and rich color are attributes that make the tomato  an attraction on  dining tables world-wide.  Most health-conscious individuals, however, are more excited about the health benefits of tomatoes and tomato-rich diets.  The beneficial effects of tomatoes range from promotion of bone health to support of the immune system; and  from support of the cardiovascular system to  prevention of various types of cancers. The present discus is  focused on the beneficial effects that are largely attributed to tomato's  carotenoid and antioxidant  contents which include  lycopene, manganese,  beta carotene  and vitamins C and E.


 Tomato is a vegetable that is sometimes featured as a fruit.  Although there are disagreement on whether tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, there is no contention on the point  that tomato is a food that is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, the nutrients that play major roles in the health benefits of tomato.  Tomato  is one of the five leading lycopene-rich foods that promote good health.  Lycopene is an antioxidant that is arguably the most important and  the most recognized player in the health benefits of tomato.

 Cancer Prevention

 Tomato-rich diets help you to reduce the risk of various  types of cancers, including  breast, prostate, lung  and colon cancers.  Lycopene is the key player in this anticancer effects of tomatoes.  The other antioxidants in tomatoes that contribute to the anticancer effects include manganese, beta carotene and vitamins A, C and E.

 Lycopene has a remarkable property in terms of bioavalability.  Bioavailability is a measure of the amount of substance that is available for utilization by various organs and tissues of your body.  Lycopene is a fat soluble nutrient, therefore, its bioavailabilty is enhanced when it is consumed with fats and oils.  In the presence of fats and oils, lycopene goes into solution easily, and it is readily absorbed by the small intestine.  It gets into the blood quickly and becomes available for utilization.

   Another interesting property of lycopene is that its bioavailability  goes up when it is heated.  This changes in bioavailability is a unique property for tomatoes compared to other lycopene-rich fruits which are not heated or cooked in oil.  This means that tomato can provide more antioxidant effects than some fruits that have higher levels of lycopene because of the way tomato is cooked and consumed.

 Cardiovascular Health

 Tomatoes provide numerous cardiovascular benefits.  Lycopene is a major contributer to cardiovascular health.   Among the beneficial effects of tomatoes are reductions in blood pressure,  total cholesterol level; bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.  It also lowers platelet aggregation which helps to prevent atherosclerosis (cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels).  These effects are important for lowering the risk of ischemic heart disease and angina pectoris.

Tomato also promotes cardiovascular health by its anti-inflammatory action. Studies have shown that tomato lowers the plasma level of C-reactive protein, a   marker of inflammation.  Reduction in inflammation is important because inflammation sets the stage for many chronic diseases, ranging from Alzheimer to ischemic heart disease. With regard to ischemic heart disease, inflammation of the coronary artery would accelerate the occlusion of  diseased  segments of the coronary artery.  Premature death or  serious adverse cardiac  event(s), such as myocardial infarction and arrhythmia, can occur sooner in the presence of inflammation.  Inflammation is often seen as a more serious  risk factor for adverse cardiac events  than cholesterol levels  in patients with ischemic heart disease.

 Improve Your Vision

 Tomatoes provide support for your eye sight.  This beneficial effect on vision is credited largely to some of the carotenoid compounds  in the tomatoes. These carotenoid compounds are lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene. These carotenoids are highly regarded for their role in preventing an eye disease  called macular degeneration (commonly found in old people).

 Macular degeneration occurs when cells of the  macula (macula lutea) die.  Macula is a specialized region of the retina that is responsible for  sharp and detailed vision.  It is also responsible for color vision.  Retina is a layer of light sensitive-cells  in the back of the eye  where it lines the interior surface of the eye ball.  When  macula is damaged  or ceases to function significant impairment of vision results.

 Strengthen the Immune System

 Tomatoes help you to strengthen the immune system.  The antioxidant nutrients in tomatoes, particularly vitamin C, are largely responsible for this beneficial effect on the immune system.

 When you  strengthen your immune system, your body becomes more capable of defending itself against diseases.  The idea that your body is capable of defending itself against diseases is a concept that has been relegated to the background in the past few decades consequent to the advent of penicillin, an antibiotic for fighting infections.  This is a mistake that can be corrected nutritionally.  You can strengthen your immune system so that antibiotic usage would become minimal or unnecessary.

 Wound Healing

 Tomato has antibiotic properties, and it  also supports wound healing.  The well-known nutrient in tomato that supports  wound healing is vitamin C; however, more studies are needed to clearly explain how tomato fights infection and promotes wound healing. The role of this antioxidant-rich fruit/vegetable in strengthening  the immune system and promoting wound-healing makes the  tomato an important food for maintaining good health.


Improve Your Health With Anti-oxidants

Fight Infections Nutritionally

Prevent Diseases with Tomato-Rich Diet
Credit: Renee Silverman's Photostream