Tomatoes, raw or cooked: Which is healthier?

Lycopene, the red pigment that gives tomatoes their colour, is believed to offer protection against certain types of cancer.

Updated: Apr 05, 2016, 10:10 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: We've been told for years that most fruits and veggies are better consumed raw instead of cooked, as cooking can reduce their vitamin and mineral content. While this is true in many cases, it's the exact opposite with tomatoes.

Lycopene, the red pigment that gives tomatoes their colour, is believed to offer protection against certain types of cancer, especially prostate cancer, and heart disease. It is said that unlike other veggies, cooking actually increases concentrations of lycopene in tomatoes.

For instance, as per the Harvard Medical School, one slice of raw tomato contains approximately 515 micrograms lycopene, while 2 tablespoons of tomato paste contains 13,800 micrograms of lycopene - that means tomato paste contains many times more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

So, enjoy tomato as sauce, paste, soup, roasted or all of which are good sources of lycopene to get maximum health benefits from the fruit.