Orange Tomato May Be Healthier Than Red Tomatoes

Golden Yellow-Orange Tomatoes by Morgan Ellis, 

The tomato is considered one of nature's superfruits and consistently makes it on every superfoods list.  Tomatoes contain lycopene, the red pigment that has been associated with many health benefits including its ability to lower risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration, and its function as a powerful antioxidant.  We were always told that the redder the tomato, the better because the deeper red tomatoes contained more lycopene.  So, why are we now being told that the orange tomato is healthier?

According to a study conducted by the Ohio State University and published in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, although orange (tangerine) tomatoes have lower concentrations of lycopene, the lycopene they do contain is far more easily absorbed by the body.  In fact, lycopene absorption from orange tangerine tomatoes was 2.5 higher than the typical red tomato variety.

The study also found that absorption of cis-lycopene (contained in the orange tomatoes and in large amounts in our bodies) was 200 times greater than absorption of trans-lycopene (contained in red tomatoes).  

It should be noted that specially grown tomatoes that are not commercially available were used in the study.  However, scientist recommend selecting the golden yellow varieties.

So, in order to cover the bases, I've been eating plenty of both:  deep red tomatoes and NatureSweet Sunbursts -  sweet, golden yellow-orange tomatoes.   A favorite side dish of red cherry and yellow-orange tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh basil is an antioxidant powerhouse.

For details on the study, see:

The Ohio State University Research:  Unique Tomatoes Tops in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants

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