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Vitamins, fiber, phytochemicals: that's what makes tomatoes so healthy
Tomatoes are real all-rounders in health. They contain not only important vitamins and minerals, but also fiber, phytochemicals and lycopene. In addition, the fruit vegetables are low in calories.
Tomatoes have it all
Tomatoes are extremely popular with the majority of Germans. The fruit vegetables consist of 94 percent water and only provide 17 kcal per 100 g. Tomatoes also contain vitamin C, potassium and fiber. There are also important phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of certain cancers, protect against cardiovascular diseases and strengthen the immune system, explains the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) on its website.
Tomatoes are grown primarily for taste. This depends on the sugar content and the fruit acids. The small cherry tomatoes taste particularly sweet, the large beef tomatoes contain less fruit acid and are suitable for salads and as vegetables.
The most common, because most productive, varieties are stick tomatoes. These include, for example, the yellow "Golden Queen", "Harzfeuer" or "Matina". Beef tomatoes bear large fruits with five or even more compartments. The ox heart tomatoes are heavily ribbed, some also smooth, but all roughly heart-shaped. They are probably called ox hearts because the large specimens can weigh half a kilogram.
Cherry tomatoes are usually red, but some varieties are also orange-yellow, others blackish-red, elongated like cornell cherries or round like table tennis balls. Bush tomatoes are usually small enough for the terrace or balcony. They fit in boxes, pots or buckets. Bottle tomatoes are usually egg-shaped, often taste intense, are easy to cut, firm and low in water.
Antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties
Tomatoes owe their coloring to a group of secondary plant substances, the so-called carotenoids. The color spectrum of these fabrics ranges from yellow to red.
The best-known representative of the carotenoids is beta-carotene (provitamin A), which the body can convert into vitamin A.
In terms of quantity, however, the lycopene dominates in the tomato. It makes up about 90 percent of the total carotenoid content - this of course depends on the color of the fruit vegetables. High levels are found especially in the bowl, which is why it should be used as far as possible.
Numerous scientific publications and studies indicate that lycopene has several health-promoting effects:
- Antioxidant property
Like some other carotenoids, lycopene is effective in breaking down aggressive oxygen compounds. According to the BZfE, lycopene can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and arteriosclerosis.
- Anti-carcinogenic property
According to the experts, lycopene suppresses the conversion of damaged cells to cancer cells in the early phase of cancer development. It may prevent certain cancers from developing. Such relationships have been observed for prostate, lung and stomach cancer. Tumors of the esophagus, intestine, breast and cervix also occurred comparatively less frequently in patients with a higher level of lycopene in the blood.
Dietary supplements with no effect
Ultimately, the development of cancer is a very complex process in which numerous factors play a role.
Therefore, despite the health benefits of lycopene, it cannot be concluded that high levels of lycopene can prevent cancer.
At the same time, studies provide numerous indications that there is a connection between the occurrence of cancer and vascular diseases and carotenoid intake through the consumption of fruit and vegetables, but not with the isolated intake of carotionoids from preparations.
The consumer center also points this out: "In contrast to tomato products, the consumption of isolated lycopene, as can be found in food supplements," showed "no effect", the consumer advocates write.
Lykopin is heat stable
According to the BZfE, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, sauces, juice and soups provide 85 percent of the lycopene in Germany.
Because lycopene is heat-stable, a large part of it is retained when cooking and gentle processing.
According to the information, lycopene can even be better absorbed from heated tomatoes than from raw fruits. Therefore, a change on the menu is particularly recommended for tomatoes.
The consumer advice center has a tip: “If you want to consume lycopene, the best way is in the form of tomato paste (1 tablespoon per day). Basically, however, all heated tomato-containing products are good sources of lycopene. ”(Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.