T Nation

Cooking Raw Tomatoes & Lycopene

Ok, so I know that eating processed tomatoes can be healthier in some ways because the cooking process frees lycopene from the cell walls and fiber (at least how I understand it). My question is to what extent (if any) does this happen if you cook raw tomatoes at home…say on the stove or in the oven? Most of the tomatoes I eat are fresh, and I considering changing that slightly if it would be in my best interest.

You can cook them for 15 min on a low-med flame. This is how I make fresh sauce when I make pasta, and its heaven in my opinion.

Right, I know how to cook tomatoes, my question is how much (if any) does cooking at home increase the amount of absorbable lycopene.

[quote]BigAlSwede wrote:
Right, I know how to cook tomatoes, my question is how much (if any) does cooking at home increase the amount of absorbable lycopene.

Short answer is between 2 to 4 so about 3. You need to cook for 30 minutes though to break down cell walls. More is absorbed if cooked in oil also. Any heat or even blending will help to some extent.

Tomato paste has the most per volume and is already in bioavailable form from processing. One positive thing for processing. If you are really worried about lycopene it is about tomato paste or supplements.

I have read that baking them does help free the lycopene, but to what extent, I don’t know

Yes cooking does free lycopene to a degree. But, the significance of this is of less importance than the act of eating tomatoes as a real food. If you are worried about freeing lycopene, then take raw tomatoes and cook them; this is a better option than the processed tomatoes; and, it will taste better too.

There are many phytochemicals and nutrients that are made more adorableness, or destroyed completely by cooking. The best course of action that does not involve research is to eat real food prepared in with a variety of methods.

If I remember correctly a study that I looked at that dealt with lycopene and the reduction of prostate cancer showed that eating real tomatoes was far superior to lycopene supplements which were superior to the control group. Obviously for ethical reasons this dealt with rats, but I digress. Hope this was helpful.

[quote]Zagman wrote:
<<< There are many phytochemicals and nutrients that are made more adorableness, >>>[/quote]

Forgive me, but I must request an interpretation of increasing “adorableness” through cooking. I read this about 10 times thinking maybe I missed it, but it still escapes me.

The best bet is not worry about how much Lycopene you might be making available from your tomatoes or how many Indoles might pop out of your cruciferous veg when you cook them and just eat a variety.

So for tomatoes, eat them raw, in spaghetti sauce, in tomato ketchup, tinned, tomato puree etc etc. That way you won’t miss anything.

Just remember though its been documented that the Lycopene may be aided in absorption by other phyto-nutrients in the tomato itself (like a lycopene transport system ?!), which aren’t present in the lycopene supplements.

Tomato’s and Olive oil (raw and extra virgin) is a great combo.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Zagman wrote:
<<< There are many phytochemicals and nutrients that are made more adorableness, >>>

Forgive me, but I must request an interpretation of increasing “adorableness” through cooking. I read this about 10 times thinking maybe I missed it, but it still escapes me.[/quote]

“made more absorbable,” apparently I cannot type and think at the same time.

[quote]Zagman wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:
Zagman wrote:
<<< There are many phytochemicals and nutrients that are made more adorableness, >>>

Forgive me, but I must request an interpretation of increasing “adorableness” through cooking. I read this about 10 times thinking maybe I missed it, but it still escapes me.

“made more absorbable,” apparently I cannot type and think at the same time.[/quote]

Think nothing of it. I’m relieved to learn that it was a typo.