By: Text: Maureen Callahan, MS, RD
Ripe and juicy, heirloom and cherry tomatoes are an easy food to love. So it's just icing on the cake that observational studies suggest lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes may play a role in warding off breast and cervical cancers. Since no clinical trials have tested the hypothesis, it's not proof positive. And maybe the protection comes from a diet rich in vegetables rather than just one vegetable. If that's the case, consider tomatoes for heart health. After following nearly 40,000 women, Boston researchers conclude lycopene or other phytochemicals eaten as oil-based tomato products may protect against cardiovascular disease.
The right dose: To be determined. But cooking tomatoes, and adding oil, makes lycopene and other antioxidants more readily available.