Humans don’t get all the benefit from raw tomatoes

April 23, 2009

Eating a raw tomato may not be the best way to release all its healthy antioxidants into the body.

Research by Plant & Food Research, in collaboration with Lincoln University, has shown that lycopene, an antioxidant found in high levels in tomatoes, is only released in small amounts when digested by humans.

Scientists used a model of the digestive tract, simulating the activity of the human stomach and small intestine, to measure the amount of lycopene and other released from tomatoes during typical digestive conditions. The study found that although around 75% of the total antioxidants were released, this included only 4% of the lycopene found in the raw tomato.

“Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene in the human diet, as well as containing other antioxidants essential for health,” says nutritional biochemist Carolyn Lister. “However, the human digestive tract is not able to release the majority of lycopene from raw tomatoes, so only a small amount would be made available for the body to use.

“Processing tomatoes has been shown to make lycopene more bioavailable, so as well as eating raw for their nutritional value, we should eat tomato sauces to get the goodness of the lycopene.”

Plant & Food Research’s Vital Vegetables® programme will continue to focus on increasing the supply of bioavailable lycopene to consumers, starting with high-lycopene tomato varieties.

The research is published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

Provided by Hortresearch

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Sweet, bitter, fat: New study reveals impact of genetics on how kids snack

February 22, 2018
Whether your child asks for crackers, cookies or veggies to snack on could be linked to genetics, according to new findings from the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph.

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
not rated yet Apr 23, 2009
Er... this is ancient news. If you want lycopene eat a can of tomato soup or 100g of puree per day. Amongst its effects it will lower BP by around 10/5 within a couple of weeks

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.