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Thread: Raw Tomatoes

  1. #1
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Question Raw Tomatoes

    I was trying to think of things we could have for dinner and knowing that we have a lot of very ripe tomatoes to use up was thinking of ideas that would involve them.

    I don't usually go out of my way to eat raw but on this occasion the idea came to my mind that we could be a bit healthier and have them raw. I then quickly realised that I think I'd made a mistake, as I recall hearing on multiple occasions that cooked tomatoes are healthier than raw.

    But are they really? I understand that by cooking more lycopene is released, but what about everything else?

    So it's a difficult question, but does the balance of information mean that they're healthier raw or cooked?
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    There is a sort of overview here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...-are-healthier

    Also various raw food web sites putting forward theories about why raw ones might be better for you - don't suppose you're interested but some people might be so: http://www.rawfoodsupport.com/read.php?2,191562,192145

    Sounds as if you have enough tomatoes to hedge your bets by having some of each - well done on the gardening front.

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Thanks for the links harpy, I'll have a read. I didn't grow the tomatoes btw
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Quote harpy View Post
    Sounds as if you have enough tomatoes to hedge your bets by having some of each
    That sounds like good advice, I have also heard (there is some research online which was carried out by Ohio & Illinois Uni's) which shows that combining tomatoes with broccoli increases the health benefits (especially in preventing prostate cancer). Although this research was carried out on rats so I don't know how effective it would be with humans.

    *Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but I thought if you were looking to make tomatoes healthier this might be useful

  5. #5
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    It's funny but tomatoes & broccoli combined is something I just won't eat, for some reason that particular combination makes me feel ill. At least cooked it does anyway, not tried raw but then I'm not so keen on eating raw broccoli.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    What I have seen about tomatoes is that after some cooking the amount of lycopenes is either increased - or mor easily absobred - but that doesn't actually mean that cooked tomatoes are healthier cooked than raw. It only says something about one single component in tomatoes - and nothing about the levels of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants/phytosterols/flavonoid compounds - or the other carotenoids (beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, phytone etc) in cooked vs raw tomatoes.

    This tomatoe/lycopenes example's I've heard (again and again) for cooking plants. Beta-carotene levels in carrots have also been mentioned +
    phenolic antioxidants in some plants. (More info in the links below).

    Some people seem to use these two examples as an 'alibi' for eating cooked food (as if they need one!), by not mentioning all the other plants and nutrients out there. Several other vitamins are reduced ny cooking at high temperatures, there are other sources of lycopene (grapefruit, watermelon and many others), and raw tomatoes also have high levels of lycopenes. But why not just eat both cooked and raw tomatoes?

    The studies about lycopene boost in tomatoes are conflicting, by the way. If I remember right, one mention a ten times boost, while another only found a 35% increase.

    Tomatoes are mainly made out of water (almost 95% by weight), so anything which removes some of that water would increase the ratio of the nutritional 'goodies' in that plant if the same goodies aren't killed in the process. Some will insist that sundrying is better than cooking, and when it comes to cooking, steaming may be better in some cases, but worse (than boiling) in others.

    It is now maybe 15-20 years ago it was found that men who consumed tomato products had fewer cases of prostate cancer, which started the discussion about lycopenes in tomatoes. But since them, the link between eating plants - raw or cooked - has been confirmed by a lot of other findings as well, so maybe the whole thing about lycopenes is a bit exaggerated.

    Some links:

    Raw vs. Cooked Veggies: A Nutrition Smackdown

    Is raw or cooked food better?

    Top 10 foods highest in lycopene (9 of them are plants)

    Food sources for lycopene

    From the last link above:

    The Arguments Against Lycopine
    Although there is question that fruits and vegetables high in lycopene had shownprotective and curative effects against prostate cancer and other cancers, many scientistsare not convinced that lycopene is the one which is doing the trick.
    Some argue that it is the antioxidant properties of lycopene that is really beneficialcombined with complex interaction with other micronutrients present in the food. Thereare other examples of herbs or foods that provides the beneficial effect. Then comes thescientists and propose an active ingredient responsible for this benefit. On further study,we find that the proposed active ingredient, given alone, cannot reproduce the healingresults identified with the whole food or whole herb. I am a strong proponent of takingthe whole food or herb as opposed to supplements.
    Don't rely on lycopene supplements. Eat tomatoes and tomato-containing foods as part ofa diet rich in fruits and vegetables. We know they work. Go for it.


    Recommendations:
    Take 1 to 2 servings of lycopene-rich tomato or tomato products every day for maximumprotection against cancers. Cooked tomato products (especially cooked in olive oil) is themost beneficial. Lycopene is not well absorbed unless it has been heated. Tomato sauce,tomato paste, and catsup are the best sources. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt.
    Buy the reddest tomatoes you can find. They contain the most lycopenes.


    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    That last bit doesn't seem right, surely ketchup (catsup) is high in both sugar and salt? Also, I don't cook in olive oil, it seems a waste of its delicate flavours and price tag.

    So, it seems that a mixture of fresh, cooked and dried is best. Fortunately I like all three of those and eat all three regularly (less so dried as they're expensive).

    I wonder how much of the 'goodness' is in the skin, skinning the tomatoes yourself and then drying the skin would be a lot easier and quicker than drying the whole thing. (Obviously still eating the flesh and seeds, just not dried.)
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Quote Risker View Post
    surely ketchup (catsup) is high in both sugar and salt?
    Some (most?) contain sugar, some don't... Not sure about salt.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    I just looked up Heinz ketchup which I think is one of the worlds most popular, it has 23.7g sugar and 2.2g salt per 100g so not as bad as I thought on the salt front. Still pretty sugary though and I can't imagine anyone eats that kind of sauce for health reasons.

    I think next time I cook with tomatoes I might try skinning them first then drying the skins on the radiator and making a tomato powder for... uhm... I'll think of something.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recip...?recipe=801034

    If you have a glut of tomatoes you could try this. I haven't tried them myself, but it's an idea. I have no idea what the Italian seasoning is, but I would think its adaptable to use something else.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    I have had tremendous success with my tomatoes in my garden this year and I have more than I know what to do with too. I have been eating them whole and raw, putting slices in sandwiches and salads, adding them to red lentil dahl, and I made a nice tomato soup with a bunch of fresh tomatoes. I tried making a raw tomato sauce in my blendtec to pour over pasta along with my fresh basil but the recipe I used was terrible and it turned out quite bland and runny. I am still working on perfecting a good creamy raw tomato sauce.

    Cooked or raw, why obsess over which is more nutrient dense? I can't imagine a tomato being bad for you either way. At least if it's a real tomato and not some hybrid chemical that resembles a tomato that you sometimes find in grocery stores...

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    It's really not obsessing, I just thought it was an interesting question. I'm not one to go out of my way to eat raw food over cooked because of some perceived health benefits.

    There's nothing wrong with hybrid tomatoes BTW, or do you obsess and only eat heritage tomatoes?
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    I'm quite suspicious about those health claims for lycopene - not that I doubt that cooked tomatos might contain a little more of the substance lycopene (at the expense of all the other stuff that we might not know about yet that is lost in cooking), but because there are multi-billion-dollar enterprises that make a livelihood from selling junk food made with cooked tomatos who now heavily bang the "lycopene" drums ... makes me wonder.

    On the recipe front, one of my favourite summer foods is spaghetti with a raw tomato sauce - simply dice a lot of raw tomatoes with a liberal amount of garlic, fresh basil and some olive oil (add salt and pepper to taste) and mix that with the spaghetti noodles so that the result is a cold dish. The more time you give the tomato, basil and garlic to rest, the better the taste. Great on hot days!

    Best regards,
    Andy

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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Quote Andy_T View Post
    On the recipe front, one of my favourite summer foods is spaghetti with a raw tomato sauce - simply dice a lot of raw tomatoes with a liberal amount of garlic, fresh basil and some olive oil (add salt and pepper to taste) and mix that with the spaghetti noodles so that the result is a cold dish. The more time you give the tomato, basil and garlic to rest, the better the taste. Great on hot days!

    Best regards,
    Andy
    I like the sound of that, I will give it a try

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Ooh, gazpacho soup, if only I had the patience to make it!
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Quote Korn View Post
    Some (most?) contain sugar, some don't... Not sure about salt.
    Tesco reduced sugar and salt ketchup is 10.7 grams sugar and 0.4 grams of salt per 100 grams. Its not as tasty as the normal ketchup but a good alternative:http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Produ.../?id=271142970

  17. #17

    Default Re: Raw Tomatoes

    Sorry, didn't mean to sound so rude this morning. Maybe obsessing was a strong word. As far as the hybrid, I guess that was the wrong term too. Sometimes conventionally grown tomatoes from large farms are sprayed and treated with so many chemicals and preservatives and sit on shelves for so long that they lose their taste and freshness. This is one of those foods I try to buy organic (before I had my own garden), although I do buy canned tomato sauce that is not organic so I guess I don't worry about it too much. I dislike the taste of conventional tomatoes, but fresh from the garden tomatoes are awesome.

    Quote Risker View Post
    It's really not obsessing, I just thought it was an interesting question. I'm not one to go out of my way to eat raw food over cooked because of some perceived health benefits.

    There's nothing wrong with hybrid tomatoes BTW, or do you obsess and only eat heritage tomatoes?

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