Lovely Lycopene: 5 Hidden Health Benefits of Tomatoes


Tomatoes Help Lower Cholesterol

In the fight against high cholesterol, tomatoes provide a double whammy. Some of the phytocompounds, like lycopene, in tomatoes help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and also increase good HDL cholesterol in the body, although the mechanism that makes this happen isn't completely understood.

One big advantage to eating tomato-based products is that tomatoes are one of the few vegetables (OK, they're technically a fruit) that retain some of their important phytocompounds like lycopene when cooked. In some ways, processed tomatoes are even more nutritious than fresh because lycopene becomes more available to the body after it's been cooked, and many cooked tomato preparations are concentrated. Some delicious examples are pizza sauce, ketchup and cocktail sauce [source: Cooking Nook].