Tips for Healthy Living — Tomatoes: Healthy & Delicious Summer Gems

Tips for Healthy Living

We’ve partnered with Dr. Doug Husbands of Holistic Health Bay Area to bring you a new set of Tips for Healthy Living. Dr. Husbands is a functional medicine doctor, clinical nutritionist, anti-aging health practitioner and doctor of chiropractic. I appreciate that he encourages visiting the doctor to focus on staying healthy instead of only visiting when you’re sick. – Carmelo Sigona

Tomatoes: Healthy & Delicious Summer Gems

By Dr. Douglas Husbands

Pasta sauce, ketchup, marinara sauce… all have the base of tomatoes.  They have a rich flavor, high water content and the right consistency to make into sauces.  They also have some unique nutrient properties that make them a healthy choice.

Many people have heard that tomatoes are high in lycopene.  Lycopene is an antioxidant , in the carotenoid family, the same family as other carotenes.  It gives tomatoes, and certain other fruits their deep red color.  Other foods containing lycopene are watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, apricots, and papaya.

Lycopene has many health benefits.  In a 2005 article in the  International Journal of Cancer , increased levels of lycopene was found to be associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer.   In a study published in 2000 in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, lycopene was found to inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.  Oxidized LDL is a major component in cholesterol that clogs the arteries.

Population studies show that people who eat large amounts of foods with lycopene have a reduced risk of certain cancers.  Animal studies have shown lycopene to protect against the damaging effects of radioactivity exposure.

There are about  5 mg of lycopene in each 100 grams of ripe tomato fruit.  Cooking tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb lycopenes easier.  A half-cup of spaghetti sauce has as much lycopene as four or five medium raw tomatoes.  One cup tomato juice has about 20 mg of lycopene.  Following are the approximate amounts  of lycopene in common tomato products:

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup: 2 milligrams

1/4 cup cocktail sauce: 7 milligrams

1/4 cup tomato sauce: 9 milligrams

1/2 cup spaghetti sauce: 20 milligrams

With the above choices in tomato-based sauces and condiments, and a variety of salads and dishes that are made with tomatoes, it should be easy to ensure we have lycopene in our diets.  Enjoy!

About Dr. Doug:
Dr. Douglas Husbands is a Functional Medicine Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist, Anti-Aging Health Practitioner, and Doctor of Chiropractic.  As a health advocate and coach, he is dedicated to achieving optimal health through resolving the underlying disease processes through diet, nutrition and lifestyle modification.   To contact Dr. Doug, call 650-394-7470 or visit

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