Tomato soup, who doesn’t love it? Few people, I think. tomato soup is not only very tasty, it is also very healthy thanks to the active substances in tomato, in particular lycopene.
Lycopenes have anticancer activity in addition to antioxidant activity. They are found mainly in tomatoes, but also in other red vegetables and in watermelon. From raw tomato they are less absorbable, better is to boil the tomato, fry it in a little olive oil or crush it.
Below, you will find a more scientific explanation, so if you are interested, feel free to read it.
- 1l defatted broth (beef or vegetable)
- 300g potatoes
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes or peeled canned tomatoes
- 2 leek seeds
- 300 g soup vegetables (carrot, celery)
- 1 onion and 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Pepper and salt
Fry the onion until glazy, add the potatoes and vegetables and stew them for a few minutes. Add the broth and the herbs. Cook for 20 minutes with the lid on the pan. Remove the seasoning and mix. Let it cook a little more.
Lycopene in tomatoes reveals all its secrets
This study, conducted by the University of Illinois, uncovers the metabolism mechanisms of lycopene (a red carotenoid with cancer-inhibiting properties from tomatoes). A new technique to produce natural bioactive molecules is also being worked on. These molecules can be detected in the body after ingestion.
The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, may provide more insight into the principle of action and the beneficial effects of natural bioactive substances (such as lycopene) for our health.
Years of research have shown that lycopene (the bioactive red dye in tomatoes) inhibits the growth of prostate tumors. Tomatoes contain large amounts of this valuable antioxidant. Lycopene is known for a host of positive properties. It stimulates blood circulation, protects against stroke, lowers cholesterol and protects against certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
Tracing lycopene metabolism
Until now, the metabolism of lycopene in the human body had never been described. To change this, the research team grew hanging tomato plants. These produce lycopene molecules with a heavier molecular weight. In this way, the researchers were able to follow the entire metabolic process of lycopene in the body, from absorption and biodistribution to transformation (or metabolization). They followed this process in eight healthy volunteers (four men and four women).
In time, the researchers want to repeat this study, but in men with prostate cancer. In this way, they hope to gain more insight into the anti-cancer effects of this substance.
Lycopene molecules traceable in the body
The researchers gradually learned to optimize the production of lycopene in cell cultures of tomatoes and succeeded in adding carbon atoms to the lycopene molecules. Those carbon atoms make it possible to track the molecules in the body over very long periods of time. This allowed the study to begin in humans, allowing the team to track the activity of carbon-loaded lycopene in the blood of the eight participants.
These analyses provide new data on the absorption rate and efficiency of lycopene in the body, and also show the structural changes that occur after lycopene absorption.
An altered chemical structure
After consumption, a change occurs in the chemical structure of lycopene, and this change has everything to do with the effect of lycopene on health. Usually, the lycopene in the tomatoes we consume has a rigid and linear form (all-trans isomers). In individuals who eat tomatoes regularly, the lycopene in the body takes on a curved and more flexible form, the ‘cis-isomers’.
This form is the one we find most often in the body. Many researchers therefore suggest that it is precisely this lycopene form that lowers the risk of disease. Tracing the carbon-laden lycopene molecules revealed that the ‘all-trans form’ transforms to cis-lycopene shortly after absorption.