Olive Oil - Health Benefits for Your Body
Lycopene with Olive Oil
The journey to learning about how our body works is one that will surely last a lifetime. We continually learn about new and compelling insights on how food, with its powerful ability to heal, can cure our bodies.
One area that is especially exciting is in food combination. Certain foods contain specific nutrients, which are best absorbed with other foods.
For example, we know certain minerals and vitamins are water or fat soluble and a recent study shows how that extends to nutrients in food as well.
Today we are going to look at the benefits of tomatoes with olive oil. When we consume a tomato (or tomato) your body is absorbing all kinds of healthy vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, beta carotene, iron, and zinc. However, the real purpose of the tomato is to deliver a powerful antioxidant called Lycopene.
What is Lycopene?
Lycopene is one amazing antioxidant that has gained some fame due to a number of studies that have highlighted its potential to help in scavenging free radicals, preventing them from causing cell mutations, which could otherwise lead to cancer and other diseases.
- A Harvard study covering 22 years found that men who consumed the highest levels of lycopene in their diet showed a 21% decrease in prostate cancer compared to other groups.
- Men who ate two or more servings of tomato sauce each week were 23% less likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Consuming 7 servings per week of tomato based products is associated with a 30% reduction of heart disease, cataracts and macular degeneration.
So how do I get my Lycopene?
There is still another twist in the story until we get to the end.
Interestingly, many fruits and vegetables lose valuable nutrients when they are cooked. The same is true for tomatoes except for one element. You guessed it – lycopene.
Lycopene is easily absorbed by the body when the cell matrix of the tomato is broken and mashed or heated up.
It is best absorbed when the tomato is mashed up, spread on toast, made into a sauce, a soup or on rice.
There probably is no coincidence that one of the most popular diets – the Mediterranean diet – which is full of tomato based foods and olive oil, is most beneficial for you.
Last but not least, there is one more thing
A recent study compared the effect of consumption of tomato products with extra-virgin olive oil and without olive oil. The results show that consuming tomatoes with EVOO raised the antioxidant activity significantly.
While you normally don’t want to cook veggies because of nutrient loss, it is actually easier to absorb the lycopene when the tomato is heated up.
In order to receive the maximum amount of lycopene from that beautiful tomato, you need to pair it with olive oil and presto!
A tomato is able to deliver its full serving of healthy lycopene to you as intended. Nature at its best!
Stay healthy, Friends!