Tomatoes are scientifically labeled a fruit, but for cooking purposes, they are referred to as a vegetable. They’re nutrient-dense and a rich source of vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is the phytochemical giving the tomato its red
hue along with significant antioxidant properties.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistrypublished a study on the nutritional benefits of cooking tomatoes. Several cooking trials were conducted heating raw tomatoes to 88 degrees Celsius for two, 15, and 30 minutes. Vitamin C and lycopene values were measured at each interval. Research results indicated a significant drop in vitamin C but in contrast, a substantial increase in lycopene.
Steaming or boiling tomatoes is the preferred method of cooking to bring out more lycopene for optimal nutrition. Research indicates lycopene reduces the risk of cancer, improves heart health, and enhances neurological response.