I’ll start with the heavy hitter on tomatoes-lycopene. Lycopene is known for its antioxidant power and cancer production. The antioxidant aspect helps to decrease free radical damage and inflammation. Lycopene may help protect against prostate, breasts pancreatic, and intestinal cancers (especially when eaten with fat-rich foods like avocado, EVOO, or nuts). Lycopene may also play a role in heart disease prevention. Tomatoes provide more antioxidants with vitamin C and A (beta-carotene). The vitamin A is also great for vision and for strong, shiny hair. More heart news. The potassium and vitamin B help to lower blood pressure, which also reduces risks of stroke and heart disease. Folate and B6 are needed to convert homocysteine (a potentially dangerous chemical) into other, benign molecules. Tomatoes are essential for inflammation as well. One study done with tomato juice showed that it lowered one of the markers of inflammation, TNF-alpha by nearly 35%. The recruitment of inflammatory compounds such as TNF-alpha have been linked to chronic degenerative diseases (atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s). A study by Tufts, where participants ate gazpacho daily (a soup with tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, EVOO, and garlic) significantly increase blood levels of vitamin C and decreased biomarkers of oxidative (free radical) stress and inflammation. The chromium in tomatoes help diabetics keep blood sugar levels under control. Vitamin K and calcium help strengthen bone and bone tissues. Riboflavin has been shown to decrease the frequency of migraines for those that suffer from them. Try putting some tomato skin on your face, for a skin care regime. Enjoy tomatoes in a variety of ways. Cooking destroys most of the vitamin C, however it does produce more lycopene, so eat raw and cooked tomatoes. Recipes coming tomorrow.