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Health and Nutrition

Q1.      What are the nutritional benefits of tomatoes?

A1.      Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A, C and E,  beta-carotene and lycopene and flavonoids ( also found in red wine and tea).

Tomatoes also contain potassium, calcium and other mineral salts.  Potassium has been linked to lowering blood pressure and calcium is vital for healthy bones and teeth.  Grilled tomatoes are high in carotene and folate.         

Q2.      What is the link between tomatoes and cancer prevention?

A2.       The vitamins and antioxidants found in tomatoes are thought to combat the harmful effects of free radicals (rogue molecules) that cause cell damage, this can trigger such diseases as cancer and heart disease.  According to recent research, the natural red tomato pigment, lycopene, may particularly active in protecting the body against these diseases.  Research has also shown that ripe, British      tomatoes have a considerably higher lycopene content than was thought to be the case, especially compared with imported, long life types which are low in lycopene.

Q3.      What is the calorific content of tomatoes?

A3.       Tomatoes are low in calories, typically containing only 14 calories per 100g. Another bonus is that tomatoes
                     contain virtually no fat or no cholesterol.

Q4.      How much fibre is there in tomatoes?

A4.      The fibre content of a ripe tomato is 1.5% of total consumption.

Q5.      What is the water content of tomatoes?

A5.      The water content of a tomato is between 93-95% of total fruit composition.

Q6.      Do you lose nutrients through cooking tomatoes?

A6.       You lose a certain amount through cooking, particularly vitamin and flavonoids. Cooking however, may increase the concentration of other nutrients, such as lycopene, which is more easily absorbed when tomatoes are cooked in oil.  Ideally  plenty of both raw and cooked tomatoes should be eaten.

Q7.      How do you store tomatoes?

A7.       Many people make the mistake of keeping their in the fridge, they are a sub-tropical fruit and dislike the
                     cold which impairs natural ripening and flavour. Instead tomatoes should be kept at room temperature.

Q8.      Does it mean that you have to cut out tomatoes if you are considering a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss?

A8.       Fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, contain vitamins, minerals, fibre, and health-promoting plant chemicals called "phytochemicals." Most fruit and vegetables are low in calories and calories and not carbs are what dieters should be most concerned about. Tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables are naturally low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, making them heart healthy, unlike the ample portions of fatty meat, cheese and cream that some low carb diets recommend. Instead of avoiding healthful fruits, vegetables and whole grains, reduce intake of starchy, sugary, high calorie sources of carbohydrates, such as cookies, chips, cakes, pastries and doughnut. 

Q9.      What is tomato pulp good for?

A9.       Tomato pulp is very good for the skin.  It refreshes, tones and aids circulation and will restore acidity to the face after cleansing.  To make a tomato face pack, make a paste by mixing tomato pulp with yoghurt.  Apply to the face for 10-15 minutes, then wash off.

Q10.    What is tomato juice, said to be a good remedy for?

A10.    Tomato juice is said to be an excellent hangover remedy.

Q11.    Do tomatoes help to fight cancer?

A11.     Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland, have found synthetic lycopene slowed the growth of human prostate tumours in mice.  Lycopene has already been linked with reducing the risk of prostate cancer.  In their research, the Dutch scientists found a low does of lycopene slowed the growth of human prostate tumours implanted in the mice by over 50% by day 42 of the study, compared to mice who had not had the treatment.  And when lycopene was combined with vitamin E, it reduced the growth of tumours by up to 73%.  The researchers found that levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen) matched the growth of the tumour, meaning that can be used to monitor the treatments effects in men.  Dr Jacqueline Limpens, from the Erasmus Medical Centre found that it was the low dose of both lycopene and vitamin E that was the most effective, demonstrating that ‘more does not necessarily equal better’.   Although more research is needed before doctors could say if a combined lycopene and vitamin E treatment could be given to healthy men to prevent them developing prostate cancer.

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