Researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain have validated the benefits of cooked tomato sauce to the human gut, owing to its possession of a rich antioxidant called lycopene.
The Spanish scientists had embarked on a study to establish how digestion affected the antioxidants – substances which help protect cells from damage – in tomato sauce.
Findings from their study showed that tomatoes have a better probiotic effect in the gut when fried into a sauce, rather than when eaten raw.
The research, published in Journal of Functional Foods, and reported on Daily Mail Online, found that although a healthy bacteria in the gut prevents some antioxidants being absorbed from tomato sauce, but the sauce boosts the effectiveness of that same bacteria.
“This makes cooked tomato sauce better for gut health than raw tomatoes, because the cooking process preserves the important chemical which gives tomatoes their red colour”, report stated.
It was also stated by the researchers that tomatoes are considered particularly healthy partly because they contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is also what makes them red.
“This boosts the probiotic effect – encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria – of the tomato”, the study finds.
Other health benefits of tomato
Aside from its delicious taste, which has made it an ingredient in hundred of dishes, nutritionists on Daily Mail Online have listed other health benefits of tomatoes below:
- They contain a lot of vitamins – namely vitamins A, B, C, E and K, plus calcium, magnesium and fibre.
- They contain potassium – 100g of tomatoes would contain around 6% of an adult’s RDA.
- Tomatoes contain carotenoids, which may protect against age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
- Tomato juice may alleviate some symptoms of menopause, such as anxiety.
- They may help to slow the growth of stomach cancers, and tomato sauce is thought to help prevent prostate cancer.