Multifunctional Tomatoes

Antioxidant in tomatoes offer many benefits

(RxWiki News) Tomatoes are like the Superman of fruits and vegetables. There’s more to these tasty fruits than meets the eye. They already have health benefits, so what more can they do?

Researchers have tapped into the hidden antioxidant powers of tomatoes. They aren’t just for eating anymore; their potential uses involve everything from petroleum gas to cosmetics and much more.

"Don’t be surprised to find tomato antioxidants in many common products."

Tomatoes are known to contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to prevent cancer, protect cells, and promote healthy skin.

Now, research director, Vicente Conejero from the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMCP), and colleagues have found a natural phenolic substance in tomatoes that has even more powerful antioxidant properties. The unknown substance is produced when a tomato undergoes biotic stress, which is equivalent to the a human's immune response kicking in when confronted with the flu.

The antioxidant power found in stressed tomatoes is fourteen times stronger than that of red wine. The phenolic substance is also 4.5 times more potent than vitamin E and 10 times more powerful than vitamin C.

This new substance is better than other commercial antioxidants because of its versatility. It could potentially be used in many applications like preservation of foods, gas, oil and even skin care products.

More importantly it can be used in pharmaceuticals. With such high antioxidant powers it can be used in drugs or supplements to prevent coronary heart disease and cancer.

Researchers have also been able to obtain the substance through an inexpensive and simple process so it’s ready to be introduced into the market.

The research is published in the journal Environmental and Experimental Botany.

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Review Date: 
July 27, 2011