Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Dietitians Tout Benefits of Canned Tomatoes

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Dietitians Tout Benefits of Canned Tomatoes

Article excerpt

When it comes to processed foods, dietitians' advice is usually along the lines of "avoid them." But with tomatoes, Emmaline Rasmussen has a different take.

"Tomatoes are really the one exception where I'm saying to people, Go for the processed version,' said Rasmussen, a dietitian at Chicago's NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Tomatoes are an extremely rich source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have suggested that consuming lycopene-containing foods may reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The way tomatoes are prepared can impact how much of a health benefit we derive.

Crushing or finely dicing tomatoes helps liberate the lycopene from cell walls, Rasmussen said. And lycopene is better absorbed by the body after it's been heated, either during the canning process or by cooking - especially with a little dietary fat, such as extra- virgin olive oil. …

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