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Ounce For Ounce, Tangerine Tomatoes May Provide More Lycopene Than Red Tomatoes

February 1, 2011: 09:47 AM EST

A month-long study of 21 healthy men and women found that tangerine tomatoes—an heirloom variety—may be better sources of lycopene than common red tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce or prevent damage to cells. In tomatoes, it occurs in two forms: trans-lycopene, contained in red tomatoes, and tetra-cis-lycopene, found in the tangerine variety. Study subjects alternated lycopene-free weeks with a week of either red or tangerine tomato-rich lunches. Scientists found that the tangerine tomato regimen resulted in higher levels of lycopene and lower oxidative damage, and suspect that the human body’s ability to more easily absorb tetra-cis-lycopene is the reason.

"Tangerine Tomatoes Top Reds in Preliminary Lycopene Study", News, Agricultural Research Magazine, USDA, February 01, 2011, © USDA
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