The cheery red pigment that provides tomatoes with their bright color is also a powerful antioxidant, providing a host of health benefits. Lycopene, the red pigment found in many fruits and vegetables, is especially abundant in the tomato. Used as a part of a healthy diet, tomatoes can help protect the body from cancer and assist in detoxifying the body.
Detoxifying helps clear the system of the overload of waste products and toxins that build up in the liver, intestines and elsewhere. Normal cellular metabolism creates waste, but in today’s world, constant exposure to pollutants in the air, food, and water add to this burden of toxins in the body. It is primarily the liver’s job to process toxins and send them on to be excreted by the kidneys or intestines.
The antioxidants in lycopene protect the liver from free radical damage. This allows the liver to function optimally, metabolizing and removing toxins from the body. Anti-aging experts believe that lycopene is essential to maintaining good health as people grow older. It boosts the immune system, and laboratory tests have even shown its effectiveness against cancer cells.
Although fresh tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, tomato sauce, paste, and ketchup are a more concentrated source of this beneficial pigment. Cooking helps break down cell walls, making more lycopene available, and exposure to heat does not alter the healthful qualities of lycopene.
People in Rochester Hills, Michigan and elsewhere can start detoxing and enhancing their health by adding fresh tomatoes and tomato products to their daily diet. Don’t think tomatoes can do it all by themselves though. Eating plenty of other fruits and vegetables every day has been shown to lessen the risk for cancer and heart disease, so start adding these nutritional powerhouses to every meal.