Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their color, is one of the most powerful anti-cancer agents yet discovered

Image: Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their color, is one of the most powerful anti-cancer agents yet discovered

(Natural News)
Whether or not tomatoes are your favorite part of a salad (or pizza), there are certainly good reasons to include as many of them in your diet as possible. One of the greatest reasons is the fact that the lycopene that gives tomatoes their beautiful color is one of the most potent anti-cancer agents yet discovered by scientists.

Though researchers have been aware of lycopene’s powerful anti-cancer capabilities for over 30 years, more recently, a significant amount of research has gone into unlocking just how this compound can best be used as part of the cancer fighting arsenal.

LifeExtension Magazine notes that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 21 million Americans at any given time. The fact that lycopene can effectively prevent and treat cancer is therefore vitally important.

What is lycopene and how does it work?

Lycopene is found not only in tomatoes, but also in pink grapefruit, papaya and watermelon. It is a carotenoid – a type of pigment that gives some red fruits their beautiful hue. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body, preventing DNA damage and helping cells to function optimally. (Related: Add tomatoes to your diet for numerous health benefits.)

As reported by FitDay, in addition to its cancer fighting credentials, lycopene has also been proven to reduce heart disease risk by 50 percent, reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis (a build-up of plaque in the arteries), protect the skin from UV radiation damage caused by excessive sun exposure, and fight the signs of aging.

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What the science says about lycopene and cancer

NaturalHealth365 recently reported on various studies confirming lycopene’s ability to fight prostate, ovarian and skin cancer:

A new review of studies published in Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents credits lycopene with interfering with the proliferation of cancer cells and slowing the progression of the disease. The team reported that lycopene also helps prevent malignant tumors from metastasizing, or spreading to other sites in the body.

Another study, published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, found that tomato extracts interfere with the ability of cancer cells to clone themselves.

Extensive studies have also been undertaken to examine the potential of lycopene to fight ovarian cancer – considered to be the most lethal of all gynecological cancers.

A study published in the American Journal of Cancer Research found that when mice which had been implanted with human ovarian cancer cells were given lycopene, their tumors were dramatically reduced in number. In addition, when some of the mice were given conventional chemotherapy drugs like paclitaxel and carboplatin, the effects of the drugs were enhanced by the lycopene, meaning that fewer toxic drugs needed to be administered.

With regard to prostate cancer, way back in the mid-1980s, researchers at the prestigious Harvard University Medical School discovered that the lycopene in tomatoes can protect men from developing this fairly common cancer.

Skin cancer doesn’t stand a chance against lycopene, either. A recent study published in the Journal of Cellular Biology found that when skin cells were exposed to lycopene before being subjected to high levels of UV radiation, the likelihood of developing skin cancer was reduced and apoptosis – cancer cell “suicide” – was encouraged. (Related: Tomato-rich diet may lower cancer risk, study shows.)

All things considered, there are many reasons to eat as many tomatoes as possible. And growing your own fresh, delicious varieties at home will be a rewarding experience in more ways than one.

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Greener AND more nutritious: Tomatoes grown with half the water have the same quality plus higher concentration of carotenoids

Image: Greener AND more nutritious: Tomatoes grown with half the water have the same quality plus higher concentration of carotenoids

(Natural News)
Farmers are constantly trying to figure out how they can conserve water without sacrificing the quality of their crops, so a new discovery from University of Seville researchers will be welcome news. According to their findings, cherry tomatoes that are grown with half the amount of water that is normally used not only have the same quality as regular cherry tomatoes from a nutritional and commercial standpoint, but they also contain higher levels of healthy carotenoids.

The results of this encouraging three-year study were published in the journal Food Chemistry. The researchers looked at two varieties of cherry tomatoes as well as other tomato types in the spring and fall cycles in fields on the school’s grounds. They used a technique known as “controlled watering deficit” in which watering is reduced as much as possible during the plants’ most resistant cultivation phase. Then, they raise their water supply right when the phase of cultivation most sensitive to stress begins.

According to Agroforestry Sciences teacher Mireia Corell, their technique is not about reducing the water used arbitrarily; instead, it is about studying the plants’ water status to understand their needs and adjust their watering schedule in a way that gives them hydration at the best times possible.

This technique appears to be a win-win situation for farmers and consumers alike. The reduction in water and energy use is significant, resulting in a green method and cost savings for farmers. Meanwhile, consumers get an environmentally sustainable product that is actually more nutritious than its predecessors.

The many health benefits of carotenoids

The tomatoes’ higher carotenoid content makes them highly desirable for healthy eating as well as cosmetics. These plant pigments are what give many fruits and vegetables their bright yellow, red and orange shades, although they can also be found in leafy green vegetables like kale. Appropriate levels of carotenoids in the diet can help to protect people against cardiovascular disease, ocular diseases, and several types of cancer.

The provitamin A carotenes are converted by the body to vitamin A. The natural foods resource Naturalpedia reports that the vitamin A found in cherry tomatoes can help with white blood cell production as well as the proper functioning of the lungs, kidneys and heart.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in foods that contain carotenoids can help delay or prevent the degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which affects around 30,000 Americans. They’ve also been linked to improved cognitive abilities, with study participants who consumed more carotenoids better able to recall word pairings that were taught to them earlier in the study.

Anti-cancer effects

A study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women with higher levels of carotenoids in their blood have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, especially the estrogen receptor-negative varieties. The researchers believe their anti-cancer effects come from their metabolism into retinol, which regulates cell development, growth and death by affecting gene expression. They are also believed to enhance the communication between cells, promoting cell repair and defense.

A teacher at the University of Seville’s Pharmacy Faculty, Antonio J. Melendez, said: “Consumers demand healthier food so that they can live longer and better. But it’s not only a matter of increasing life expectancy. It’s also about making sure that we are healthy in our old age.”

This technique isn’t just good news for tomatoes; it is believed that it can be adapted to other crops, such as almonds and olives, to create more nutritious and environmentally-friendly crops in the future. Technology has brought us many life-saving developments, but sometimes the simplest solutions can be just as groundbreaking.

See for more coverage of fresh food ingredients.

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FDA Admits That Store-Bought Ketchup Does Not Contain Fresh Tomatoes

By Fattima Mahdi Truth Theory

With everything from hybridisation to genetic engineering affecting our foods, what exactly are we eating these days? We think we know what we are eating, but given the fact that food package labels are often complicated and do not always list all information about what is in our food, we really have no idea. This is more so in case of ketchup.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have admitted that there are in fact no fresh tomatoes in ketchup, just diluted tomato paste. They have also highlighted that the acceptable levels of mold contamination can be as low as 15 percent in canned tomatoes, to as high as 45 percent for ketchup. If that wasn’t enough, their established guidelines for the number of contaminants it will allow in our food supply means up to 30 fly eggs per every 100 grams of tomato sauce and up to two maggots per every 100 grams of tomato juice is, in their eyes,  wholly acceptable.

Ketchup should be ketchup, but unfortunately it’s not. We have an industrialised food system which, with its relentless pressure to shave fractions of a penny off the price of its products, practically guarantees fraud, substitution and, even when those are absent, a constant driving down of the quality of the raw materials used in processed foods.It is important that we are active consumers and stop to think about the products we buy on a daily basis.

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New Genetically Modified Tomatoes May Soon Hit The Marketplace

Tomatoes were one of the first commercially available genetically modified (GM) crops ever. GM tomatoes are about to make a comeback in 2018 as Chinese and French researchers reveal details of how they genetically-engineered tomatoes to boost vitamins and other nutrients.

Earlier forms of this GM crop included the transgenic tomato (FlavrSavr) which had a “deactivated” gene. This meant that the tomato plant was no longer able to produce polygalacturonase, an enzyme involved in fruit softening. The premise was that tomatoes could be left to ripen on the vine and still have a long shelf life, thus allowing them to develop their full flavour. Normally, tomatoes are picked well before they are ripe and are then ripened artificially.

These GM tomatoes, however, did not meet their expectations. Although they were approved in the US and several other countries, tomatoes with delayed ripening have disappeared from the market after peaking in 1998.

Despite organic tomatoes being more nutritious than conventional, scientists think they can rise above nature to produce high nutrient GM tomatoes which produce compounds which are impossible in those naturally grown.

Tomatoes have recently been genetically modified to produce a peptide that mimics the actions of HDL cholesterol that biotechnology groups are promoting to supposedly reduce heart disease.

Producing A Genetically Modified Tomato

In collaboration with researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the team succeeded in isolating a specific plant chemical pathway to enhance phytosterol content by 94%, squalene (210%), provitamin A (169%) and lycopene (111%).

Currently there are no genetically modified tomatoes available commercially. In 2014, Norfolk Plant Sciences attempted to commercialise its produce, a genetically modified purple-fleshed tomato that contained high levels of anti-oxidants and anthocyanins.

Teaming up with Canadian-based New Energy Farms, the venture sought to grow a crop of blue tomatoes for use in clinical trials required to obtain regulatory approval.

In March of this year, Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK detailed a gene-editing technique (CRISPR/Cas9) that made tomatoes resistant to a potent fungal pathogen.

Study Details

Led by Chye, the Wilson and Amelia Wong professor in plant biotechnology at HKU, alongside colleagues from the Institut de Biologie Moleculaire des Plantes in Strasbourg, France, the trial involved inserting a gene from an Indian mustard plant into a tomato plant.

The team found that as well as the boost vitamin E, provitamin A and lycopene compared to the control group, the increase resulted in a darker colour of the carotenoids extracted from the modified tomatoes.

GM Tomatoes in the EU

While tomatoes have been regularly used as a model organism to study the effect of climate in fruit ripening, its commercial history is a chequered one.

The Flavr Savr breed of tomato became the first commercially available genetically modified food engineered to have a longer shelf life. Launched in 1994, the tomato did not appeal to consumers and were withdrawn in 1997.

Currently Europe has yet to come to a decision regarding certain technologies implemented to create GMO foods.

In 2007, the European Union set up working groups to clarify how newer cis- and intragenic techniques fit into its existing prohibition of most genetically modified foods.

These working groups published a report in 2012, but not all recommendations were made available to the public.

The commission were scheduled to provide an update in 2015 but pushed back the release of its findings.

In 2016, the French Council of State asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule whether or not new GMO techniques, including CRISPR-Cas fell under EU GMO law.

The council also asked the ECJ if these ‘new plant breeding techniques’ were to become exempt from EU GMO rules, would this endanger the precautionary principle.

So far, no crops derived from these breeding techniques have yet received EU authorisation because of the uncertain legal situation.

One of the issues EU regulation is wrestling with is whether CRISPR is a definitive GMO technique.

There is the suggestion that CRISPR, when used to change a number of nucleotides to knockin or knockout various endogenous gene pathways in a crop organism, the plant is not considered GMO.

Conversely, an organism is considered GMO if CRISPR is used to insert an entire exogenous gene sequence into an organism.

According to the French Council of State, the ruling is expected around April 2018. 

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Merkel Pelted With Tomatoes At Rally As Voters Rage Over Open Door Refugee Policy


German Chancellor Angela Merkel was met with loud boos and calls to “get out” of Germany during her election campaign stops in east German towns of Torgau and Finsterwalde on Wednesday. It comes just a day after she was hit with a tomato at a rally.

Merkel, who is touring Germany as part of her and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party reelection bid, is having a rough start in the eastern Germany, where the Chancellor herself grew up.

Her rally in the town of Torgau in Lower Saxony on Wednesday was visited by over a hundred counter-demonstrators from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), who attempted to derail her 30-minute speech focused on tax policy, fight against terrorism and educational. The demonstrators chanted “nation’s traitor,” “get out,” calling to “vote her out.”

Merkel seemingly remained unperturbed by the obstruction, instead hailing Germany’ democratic standards that allow protesters to voice their opinion, arguing that people in other countries that lack the privilege of the freedom of expression would have been glad “if they could demonstrate under such democratic conditions,” as cited by Die Welt.

A similar treatment awaited Merkel in a small town of Finsterwalde in Brandenburg, where she arrived Wednesday evening. Noisy opponents carrying posters reading “fed up”,“close the borders” and “Banana republic” greeted the German leader with boos while her supporters welcomed her with a round of applause as came on stage.

At a rally in Heidelberg on Tuesday, the Chancellor was grazed by a thrown tomato, though in a usual show of stoicism, did not let it make her lose her cool.

Though her red jacket helped cover up the impact, a juicy stain was still apparent as Merkel stood on stage to join in the national anthem. A moderator at the event, Claudia von Brauchitsch, also appeared to have been hit, as Merkel offered her a tissue. Merkel remained calm throughout her subsequent speech despite booing and calls of “traitor!” from some in the audience.

Later Tuesday, Merkel appeared to give a speech at an auditorium in Stuttgart, seemingly wearing the same jacket. Police meanwhile have launched an investigation into the incident.

Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU alliance is projected to win in the upcoming Bundestag elections, due to be held on September 24, where she is seeking a fourth term as the head of Germany. Despite CDU/CSU’s apparent lead, Merkel’s popularity has taken a hit over the last few years as a result of her handling of the migrant and refugee crisis, the biggest to face Europe since the Second World War.



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Rotten tomatoes: The real reasons Al Gores new film "Truth to Power" flopped


Al Gores new Inconvenient Truth squeal Truth to Power, flopped at the box office because temperatures are now lower than when he won the Nobel Peach Prize, its snowing in Wyoming, its snowing in Colorado in July and August, record cold start to Britain’s summer holidays in over 35 years, Denmark has had no summer which takes it back 38 years to find those temperatures, Australia broke a plethora of winter low temperature records and snowfall records and there is more sea ice now that 1972.


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