Tomatoes - all varieties, all colors, all forms - have great health benefits. Fresh, home-canned, even commercially canned tomatoes offer health benefits. And don't forget tomato sauce and tomato paste. Lasagna, anyone?
Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their oftentimes-rich concentration of lycopene. While more research is needed in this area, preliminary studies have shown that tomatoes may not have to be deep red in order for us to get great lycopene-related benefits.
Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health. We don't always think about antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but it is, and tomato lycopene (and other tomato antioxidants) may have a special role to play in this area.
Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood - a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis.
There are literally hundreds of different tomato varieties. We usually choose our favorite varieties by some combination of flavor, texture, and appearance. While all tomatoes show good antioxidant capacity, and while the differences are not huge, the following four varieties of tomatoes turned out to have a higher average antioxidant capacity regardless of whether they were grown conventionally or organically: New Girl, Jet Star, Fantastic, and First Lady.