Edible Landscaping - Charlie says... Eat Orange Tomatoes for Lycopene

By Charlie Nardozzi

'Tangerine' orange tomato has higher levels of the anti-oxidant lycopene than red tomatoes.

We've all seen the studies saying red tomatoes contain high amounts of the anti-oxidant lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to protect cells and essential fatty acids from breaking down in the body and contributes to better health. While tomatoes, specifically processed red tomatoes, were originally thought to contain the highest amounts of lycopene, researchers at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Davis, California have now found that orange is a good color for health, too.

Researchers asked 21 men and women not to eat any tomato products for a one month period. They then fed the participants chili made either with a common red tomato variety or with 'Tangerine' orange tomatoes for one week and then tested their blood afterward. They found those who ate the chili made with 'Tangerine' orange tomatoes had higher lycopene levels in their blood. They concluded that 'Tangerine' is a better source of lycopene than red tomatoes. It seems the lycopene in the orange colored fruits is better absorbed in the body.

So mix up your colored tomatoes this summer in the garden, growing some orange ones like 'Tangerine' to keep your body at optimum health.

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