The tomato not only thrills the taste buds and brightens the dinner table, it also helps fight disease.
A review of number of different studies showed consistently that the more tomatoes and tomato products people eat, the lower their risks of many different kinds of cancer. The secret may lie in lycopene, the chemical that makes tomatoes red.
Processed tomatoes (e.g. canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup) contain even more lycopene because cooking breaks down cell walls, releasing and concentrating carotenoids. Eating tomatoes with a small amount of fat enables lycopene to be better absorbed.
The tomato is also an excellent source of vitamin C (one medium tomato provides 40% of the RDA) and a goodÂ source of vitamin A (20% of the RDA).
On the minus side, as a nightshade relative, tomatoes contain glycoalkaloids, which some people believe contribute to arthritis symptoms.