Research On Orange Tomatoes As A Source Of Lycopene
Special types of orange tomatoes have been grown by food researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus which are healthier than other varieties of red tomatoes grown in the garden. It has been suggested that the human body absorbs lycopene more from orange tomatoes than from other varieties of red tomatoes.
Lycopene works as an antioxidant for the body which provides various health benefits such as it reduces the risk of cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, age-related eye problems and even male infertility. Lycopene is found in red/orange tomatoes and other red or pink colored fruits and vegetables such as papaya, guava, pink grapefruit, watermelon or rosehips.
At Ohio State University, scientists made sauce from tangerine tomatoes. They observed how much Lycopene was absorbed by the human body over 10 hours after eating the sauce that was made from the tangerine tomatoes. Results observed by the scientists were reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food science. Two distinct geometric forms of Lycopene were found by the researchers which are Tetra-cis & All-trans.
Transform or Tetra-cis?
It was observed that almost 95% of the lycopene in the red tomatoes was of the all-trans form and the lycopene found in the tangerine tomatoes was entirely of the tetra-cis variety. Results showed that the lycopene of tetra-cis variety, found in orange tomatoes, were absorbed 2.5 times more efficiently by the human body than the all-trans form, found in red tomatoes.
The lycopene in the tangerine tomatoes has been found to be more digestable than that found in other varieties of red tomatoes. To separate lycopene from the indigestible fiber in vegetables is difficult for the human body as lycopene cannot bind to water molecules. It was noticed that, by means of processing, for example cooking the tomatoes, the absorption of the compound improved. Moreover, researchers noticed that, when heated, the tetra-cis form of lycopene was more brittle than the all-trans form of lycopene.
Lycopene is a lipophilic compound which means it combines to the fats easily. Just like the all-trans form of lycopene, the tetra-cis form of lycopene is better absorbed by the human body when processed or mixed with oil.
Research is still going on to explore the benefits of the less common varieties of tomatoes by the scientists. It has been found that tomatoes of purple color come from anthocyanins which are also known to be antioxidants. Anthocyanin gives color to various grapes and berries. So research is going on to explore more varieties of tomatoes which are not used often but could have great health benefits.