Q&A: Lycopene in cooked tomatoes?

Consumer Reports News: September 04, 2009 08:44 AM

Do cooked tomatoes provide significantly more lycopene than raw ones? —R.M., via e-mail 

Yes—though it’s a bit of a tradeoff, since cooking destroys some other nutrients, notably vitamin C. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red produce. Heating tomatoes has been shown to increase the amount of lycopene that the body can absorb by breaking down plant cells that trap the substance (puréeing has that effect as well). What’s more, a study from Cornell University found that increasing the cooking time of tomatoes further increased the amount of lycopene they released, though the effect plateaued after about 15 minutes of heating.

Read more about the health benefits and the wide spectrum of colors of heirloom tomatoes, and take a look at the evidence for tomatoes in lowering prostate cancer risk

Photo courtesy of foodistablog

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