Most people know by now that antioxidants are substances that may be beneficial to human health and are found in green tea, red wine and many fruits and vegetables. Some individuals may not know the best foods to eat to get antioxidants into their diet. Recently, scientists from the University of Barcelona found that when people want to get antioxidants from tomatoes, they may want to shop in the organic aisle.
According to the researchers, organic tomatoes contain higher levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds than conventional tomatoes. These compounds have been shown to potentially boost cardiovascular health. The scientists said that this difference may come down to the type of manure used when these tomatoes were grown.
"Organic farming doesn't use nitrogenous fertilizers; as a result, plants respond by activating their own defense mechanisms, increasing the levels of all antioxidants," explained the first author of the article, Anna Vallverdu Queralt. "The more stress plants suffer, the more polyphenols they produce."
In previous studies, these researchers demonstrated that organic tomato juice and ketchup contain higher polyphenol content than juice and ketchup made from conventionally grown tomatoes.
Tomatoes are also a good source of lycopene and other carotenoids and vitamin C. A 2011 study from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that individuals can actually get more lycopene after they cook tomatoes. The authors went so far as to say that tomatoes are the most important non-starchy vegetable in the American diet.
The University of Barcelona researchers said that more studies need to be conducted, but for now they believe these findings support the theory that organic vegetables may have greater health benefits than conventionally grown ones.