I’ve written about the extensive research done with regards to the health benefts of extra virgin olive oil. Add tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a pinch of sea salt and you have the classic and much beloved sugo di pomodoro or Lucini’s Tomato Basil Sauce. Here’s the great part – not only is this classic sauce great tasting, it’s great for you!
Tomatoes are naturally high in lycopene, a carotenoid (powerful antioxidants, protecting the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals) that has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, “…the antioxidant function of lycopene-its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage-has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells. Prevention of heart disease has been shown to be another antioxidant role played by lycopene.
“Lycopene from tomatoes has been extensively studied in humans and found to be protective against a growing list of cancers. These cancers now include colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. While lycopene may play an important role in tomatoes’ health benefits, it seems that it is not the only nutritional star integral for giving this food a red-hot reputation for health promotion; recent research discussed below in the section “Protection Due to Synergy of Tomato’s Nutrients, Not Just Lycopene” describes how scientists are finding out that it is the array of nutrients included in tomatoes, including, but not limited to lycopene, that confers it with so much health value. All the while, it’s still important to understand the many benefits that lycopene provides. Lycopene has been shown to help protect not only against prostate, but breast, pancreatic and intestinal cancers, especially when consumed with fat-rich foods, such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil or nuts. (This is because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats.”
Fast food doesn’t have to mean ‘bad for you’! A tasty pasta meal with a mixed green salad take about 15 minutes to prepare and you get all the cancer-preventing benefits of tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. To make it even easier, make sure you have a selection of Lucini Sauces on hand. And don’t forget the Lucini DOP Parmigiano Reggiano!