• Prevents Cataracts Keeps older people active

These are powerful statements to make about tomatoes and its contribution to good health. Tomatoes abound as summer approaches and this is a good time to focus and eat them. It is one of the fruits that everyone who gardens has on their list to plant in their summer garden and the most edible fruit eaten by Americans.

Give thanks to Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson, because Americans may never have tasted tomatoes.

Tomatoes are classified as members of the deadly nightshade family. For centuries, people thought tomatoes to be toxic, capable of causing appendicitis, cancer and "brain fever." Colonel Johnson described himself as an eccentric gentleman thought otherwise.

He took a trip overseas in the early 1800s and returned to Salem, New Jersey with tomatoes and a plan to change its gloom and doom heritage.

In 1926 Johnson announced to the people living in his town that he would eat not just one tomato but also an entire basket of tomatoes. People were ecstatic and some 2,000 spectators went to watch Johnson whom they thought, purposefully committing suicide eating so many tomatoes. Why? Because of the bad reputation, those tomatoes were toxic. He proved them wrong because he lived after eating them and corrected this misconception that this delicious, succulent, red fruit was not toxic.Since then tomatoes were transformed into rock star status and became a favorite for most people because it is so versatile. It can be all things for everyone, eaten as fruits, snack, drunken as juices, used to prepare main dishes and sauces. With that in mind, tomatoes contain compounds that can help prevent a number of serious conditions, from heart disease and cancer to cataracts.

Cellular Protection

Tomatoes contain a red pigment called lycopene. This compound acts as an antioxidant. That means it helps to neutralize cell damaging oxygen molecules called free radicals before they cause any damage. Before now lycopene's reputation for healing was not emphasized because it was overshadowed by its popular counterpart, beta-carotene. More recent studies indicate that lycopene could have twice the cancer fighting edge of beta- carotene.

Harvard researches studied 48,000 men and found that men who ate at least 10 servings a week of tomatoes in the forms of raw, cooked or in sauce, were likely to cut their risk of developing prostrate cancer by 45 percent. Ten servings sounds like a lot of tomatoes, but notice that this is spread out over a week. Let's review what a serving looks like, it means a half of a cup of sauce, or 4 ounces of tomato juice.

Meir Stampfer, M.D. and author of the study said, "Lycopene is a very strong anti-oxidant." He elaborated further to say that "for some reason lycopene concentrates in the prostrate. Men with high levels of lycopene in their blood are at lower risk for prostrate cancer."

Israeli researchers, found that the lycopene in tomatoes are beneficial and a powerful inhibitor of breast, lung and endometrial cancer cells.

Tomatoes are a staple for the Italians and they eat tomatoes in all the ways you can count daily. Italian researchers found that people who ate 7 or more servings of raw tomatoes per week had a 60 percent lower chance of developing stomach, colon or rectal cancers than folks who ate two servings or less. Again lycopene is thought to show protective effects.

Regarding lycopene helping older people to stay active longer, researchers said that

88 nuns ages 77 to 98, found that those who got the most lycopene were the ones least likely to need help with daily activities such as getting dressed and walking.


Eating a wide variety of foods, to include colorful fruits and vegetables that mimic the rainbow is so essential in preventing bad health and diseases. We owe it to ourselves to make the best food choices, eat the recommended number of servings of each food that will give you a conscious assurance to good health. The lycopene described in this article demonstrates that we are what we eat and we can fight any battle when we nourish and nurture our bodies with good nutrition for health.

Author's Bio: 

Hope Anderson owner of Hope Nutritional Services is a seasoned holistic coach. Her professional background is Food and Nutrition with accreditation in dietetics. Her mission and philosophy centers on providing scientific, evidence based information, products and tools to empower people who seek her counsel on how to live healthy, vibrant lifestyle in preventing at risks diseases. To learn more about Hope Anderson, visit her website: www.hopenutriservices.com