This softens the cell walls allowing more of the pigment lycopene to escape and be absorbed by the body. Lycopene is what makes ripe tomatoes red and is thought to be particularly good at protecting against heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Buy local, eat ripe:
Ripe tomatoes have a considerably higher lycopene content than was thought to be the case, according to the British Tomato Growers’ Association, especially when compared with imported types picked under ripe, which have much lower levels.
Cook with tomato puree:
Tomato puree has a lower water content than fresh tomato, so the nutrients are concentrated. One tablespoon supplies around a tenth of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E and important to protect cells from damage.
It’s also been linked with lower levels of heart disease. Tomato puree can be added to sauces, pizzas and marinades.
Add a drizzle of oil:
This will increase how much lycopene your body absorbs, as it is oil soluble.
Simply eat a handful:
Around six or eight cherry tomatoes are an easy, delicious way to get one of your five-a-day. Have with lunch, or add to a bowl full of green leaves to turn one vegetable portion into two.