Health benefits of tomato
We have all heard about the mediterranean diet and the health benefits of tomato (especially for heart health). One of the most abundant ingredients in the mediterranean diet is tomatoes, loved for its content of the powerful antioxidant lycopene.
Lycopene has been shown in studies to improve heart health (by preventing the hardening of blood vessels and build up of plaques which block blood vessels) and there is a lot of exciting research currently on its ability to prevent cancer, because it has been shown to block angiogenesis (production of blood vessels) and without blood vessel growth tumours cannot survive.
Many nutrients are destroyed by heat, and raw vegetables contain a lot of beneficial digestive enzymes which are destroyed by cooking.
But did you know that cooking tomatoes increases the concentration of lycopene? And if you add a dash of olive oil it helps the body absorb lycopene better? So those mediterranean slow simmered tomato sauces are better bioavailable sources of lycopene than raw tomatoes.