They are the jewel of our agri-food tradition, protagonists of the Mediterranean diet. THE tomatoes sweeter and juicier are born under the sun of the summer months, but their scent can be kept intact thanks to the preserves, made at home at this time of year, or purchased. The good news? The preservation in jars or canned not only preserves the aroma and flavor of tomatoes, delicious vegetables, but also the contents of a very precious nutrient for health.
Lycopene, king of antioxidants
The tomato contains a substance that represents a real nutritional “case”: the lycopene. «Lycopene is a carotenoid with a powerful antioxidant action. Several studies have proven its effectiveness in the prevention of various pathologies. In particular protects against cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosissafeguards the functionality of the prostate and therefore male fertility, slows down the bone resorption process and prevents some forms of cancer “, explains the doctor. Valentina Schirònutrition biologist and food science specialist.
Unlike what happens with other nutrients, the amount of bioavailable lycopene increases with cooking. Because? «In fresh tomatoes this long and thin molecule is strongly attached to the vegetable fibers and, when the product is ingested raw, it remains“ trapped ”in the fibers themselves which are not digested. Cooking, on the other hand, releases lycopene, thus increasing its bioavailability for absorption into the body. Data in hand, in the normal tomato sauce for pasta we find 14-20 milligrams of lycopene every 100 grams. In fresh tomatoes, on the other hand, the content can range from 3 to 7 milligrams per hectogram of product », says the expert.
Not to get lost among the shelves
On the supermarket shelves you will find products that use tomato varieties that were unusual until recently, such as cherry tomatoes, datterini tomatoes (both also yellow) and black tomatoes. You also have many different preserves available. Here are the main ones.
• The peeled tomatoes. They are whole tomatoes, skinned, lightly blanched and preserved in the sauce. They are especially suitable for the preparation of fast cooking dishes, such as pizza.
• The tomato concentrate. It is obtained by treating tomatoes at high temperatures and depriving them of the watery part. It is used to flavor sauces, sauces, stews and stews
• The pulp of tomatoes. It contains pieces of the vegetable, which can be more or less large in size. It is a versatile preserve, suitable for many different preparations, perfect for supporting long cooking.
• The tomato puree. It has a thick consistency and is ideal for the preparation of sauces in which the tomato must act as a base. In fact, the puree is combined with vegetables, but also with fish.
Fresh and pureed tomatoes, values in comparison
The puree has higher concentrations of provitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid because it contains less water than the fresh product.
Here are some values for 100 g of food (source: CREA).
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