Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some Science: Lycopene


Background: I was recently asked to write an article about lycopene. I knew lycopene was found in tomatoes but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge on it. My search for the topic has taught me that lycopene can be found in any red fruit (watermelon, beetroot, even apricots, peaches and guava). However, lycopene is at its highest concentration in tomatoes (the riper the tomato the higher its lycopene content).

Why: General scientific belief is that lycopene (directly ingested as opposed to taken as a supplement) has anti-cancer properties particularly against prostate cancer.

More info please: Lycopenes are the strongest known ingestible anti-oxidants with a superior 0xygen-binding capability. This means that the DNA in our cells is protected from oxygen damage and possibly cancerous changes. Processed tomatoes (such as canned tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato purees even tomato sauce/ketchup) have the greatest concentration of lycopenes. The effect of lycopene is enhanced with heating and is more easily absorbed when a fat is ingested with it (e.g. olive oil).

Now, I think lasagne, pizza or even a hearty vegetable bake might be on the menu tonight!

NB: If 'Some Science' is an interesting segment to you, please let me know and I will make it regular.

22 comments:

septembermom said...

This post makes me feel great! You should see how much tomato sauce I eat in a week :)

Suko said...

Love this feature! And luckily, we love tomatoes and such!

Natalie said...

Fantastic idea, Mervat! Loving Lycopene at our house.xx♥


Ps sending you a big hug too. :D

notSupermum said...

Very interesting Mervat. I knew a little about Lypocene and that tomatoes were a great source of it, but I'm surprised to learn that processed tomatoes have a great concentration. That's great news, as we use a lot of tinned tomatoes and passata for pasta sauces. I always buy a lot of fresh tomatoes too, because I eat them as a fruit and the Teenager-in-waiting *loves* tomato salads and will often make herself one as a snack.

notSupermum said...

Oh, and yes, a regular science spot is be a great idea!

Joanne said...

I've heard too that tomato paste is even better, with higher lycopene content due to the concentration ... great for our sauces! Like the Science Spot, cast my vote for it. Thanks for visiting my blog :)

see you there! said...

Keep the science coming. Any excuse to eat the tomato/olive oil combo is good.

Darla

Spencer L Casey said...

I'll take it! Sign me up for a Round Table Combination with extra extra sauce. mmmmm

The Writing Instinct said...

septembermom: That is terrific. Hey at least you know it is benefiting you on some level ;)

Suko: thank you! And yes, we love our tomatoes as well.

Natalie: Thanks! Lycopene is popular here to ;) Hugs right back at you.

notSupermum: Glad you liked it.
Isn't it great when our kids enjoy foods that don't come out of a packet. My favourite way to eat tomatoes is in bruschetta...Mmm!
I will endeavour to come up with interesting finds.

Joanne: Got to love the sauces! And thank you for popping by this blog. You are always welcome!

see you there: Glad you liked this segment. Yes I totally agree; tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil...very summery and just perfect!

Spencer L Casey: The more the merrier!

Jillien said...

I'm actually hosting an italian dinner party tonight! I'm gunna load up on the tomato sauce! Thanks for the awesome post!

JM

Post Script: Thank you for visiting my blog and for the encouraging words.

The Writing Instinct said...

Jillien: Hope the dinner party was a smashing success...how can it not be with all that fabulous tomato sauce?!

♥ Braja said...

I love them raw....beautiful photo too, and makes me want tomatoes :))

Rose said...

Love the idea of a science feature, especially since I teach science. I vote yes!

True Religion Jeans said...

hug to blog..

Dori said...

I love tomatoes so I'm so glad to hear this. Have a great weekend :)

lunarossa said...

Well, Mervat, I'm quite happy that my Italian instinct of cooking and eating lots of tomatoes was right. I will encourage my daughter to grow her mini tomato plants in our conservatory (the garden is too cold unfortunately!). Great post, thanks. Ciao. A.

Banteringblonde said...

now i'm definitely ordering pizza ... thanks for the info and the excuse!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks for the info. Tomatoes are a must on our weekly menu.

La Belette Rouge said...

I prefer raw tomatoes to cooked ones. I try to cook them for the lycopene at least once a week.

Warren Baldwin said...

Very interesting post! Thanks for the info on lycopene. Makes me glad I planted way more tomato plants than we probably needed (if they produce)!

Maybe you can do another post of the health benefits of certain foods? How about peppers - bell, jalepeno and habernero? (Since I planted a bunch of them, too?

Kayleigh said...

My darling, brilliant and uncanny friend....guess what I've been craving and can't seem to get enough of -- yup, 'matoes :)

I loved this post and hope you do make this sort of topic a regular thing, you have a way of making science sooooo interesting!

Thank you so much for all your kind words as usual, dear friend -- you know, I hope we get to actually meet someday, wouldn't that just be wonderful??? In honor of that thought I'd make a big pot of my famous veggie chili, rich with tomatoes :)

Shelley said...

"Some Science" is a great topic. I'll be back!

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