When it comes to nutrients, you’d think the fresher the source, the better. But tomatoes and their “wonder” ingredient happen to be the exception that proves the rule.
Tomatoes are rich in a carotenoid called lycopene, which can help fight Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) heart disease and cancer. Curiously, it is given off in greater quantities in a processed or cooked tomato, rather than a fresh one, because lycopene is tightly bound within the tomato’s cell walls.
Heat breaks down those walls, thus releasing more lycopene for the body to absorb and use. Cooking tomatoes in olive oil helps to dissolve lycopene and carry it into the bloodstream.
The body doesn’t produce lycopene of its own, so you can only obtain the compound’s benefits by eating food that contains a generous amount of it. Good sources are canned tomatoes, tomato soup and salsa as well as sauteed fresh tomatoes.
Lycopene’s antioxidant properties are thought to be largely responsible for its effectiveness in battling heart disease and cancer. Research suggests it can help prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease by lowering levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol. Lycopene may also reduce the threat of certain cancers such as those of the prostate, breast, colon, stomach, cervix and skin.
Generally speaking, the riper and redder a tomato, the more antioxidant properties it contains, because lycopene gives certain fruits and vegetable a red hue.
A balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are crucial lifestyle habits for avoiding excess PCOS weight and obesity, which often have, as an underlying factor, the reversible imbalance of blood glucose and insulin called Insulin Resistance.
- Take the PCOS Quiz! Get your score and assess your hormone health risks.
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- Checkout the Hormone Reset. Guided Practices to eliminate anxiety, lose weight and boost energy.
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