While the art of creating the best-tasting pasta sauce has been perfected by Italian grandmothers the world over, the reason its main ingredient has become a staple in the Italian diet extends far beyond taste. Tomatoes are rich in nutrients and, perhaps surprisingly, become even more potent and more easily accessed by the body when they are cooked.
In recent years, abundant research has been conducted on the healing properties of cooked tomatoes, and the number of health benefits gleaned from eating them is astounding. Take a look at some of the top ones:
Tomatoes Fight Cancer
The deep red pigment of tomatoes comes from a carotenoid and powerful antioxidant called “lycopene.” The American Cancer Society has reported from studies on lycopene that individuals with diets rich in tomatoes were found to have a lower risk of many types of cancer, including prostate, lung, and stomach cancer.
Tomatoes Fight Heart Disease
With heart disease still the number one cause of death in the world, it’s uplifting to know that the lycopene in tomatoes can reduce the risk of heart disease by 25%. Tufts University found that when tomatoes were eaten regularly over an eleven-year period, their lycopene content cut the risk of coronary heart disease by 26% by boosting the heart’s defenses. And in 2012 a study conducted by Finnish scientists, showed that men with the lowest levels of lycopene in their systems were up to 60% more likely to experience heart attacks.
Tomatoes Make You More Attractive
In the cosmetics and beauty market, tomatoes have attracted a lot of attention for the effects they have on skin when used topically or ingested. When consumed regularly, the antioxidants in tomatoes work as a natural sunscreen, keeping the sun’s ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin. They also work to fight cellular damage, wrinkles, and skin reddening.
Tomatoes Help You Lose Weight
Among the many nutrients in tomatoes are chromium, fiber, and biotin — all provided in ample supply. Chromium and biotin work together to stabilize blood sugar levels, severely reducing cravings; the fiber content functions to maintain a sense of fullness.
Tomatoes Keep You Healthy
As the body is exposed to free radicals on a consistent basis, through pollution, foods, chemicals in the water and diet, and so forth, waste piles up in the body, contributing to illness. The antioxidant content in tomatoes works to counteract these free radicals, protecting the liver from damage by metabolizing and eliminating toxins from the body. As a result, the immune system is able to function at a higher capacity, and the liver can process much of the waste that might otherwise overwhelm it. The degree to which tomatoes detoxify the body is so great that anti-aging experts claim their antioxidant value is essential to good health during the aging process.
The amazing healing powers of cooked tomatoes make traditional Italian pasta sauce a healthful food. When you’re eating tomato sauce, you’re doing your body a huge favor, fighting off illness, enhancing your beauty, and improving your overall health. So the next time you come down to Pinocchio’s and bite into our delicious sauce on our pasta dishes or pizza, you can enjoy it even more, knowing you can have your pasta sauce and eat it, too!