Tomatoes good source of lycopene

Ripe, juicy tomatoes now can provide you with cancer protection in a warming sauce that’s easy to make and freeze for future meals, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

When tomatoes are cooked or processed into canned goods, the heat heightens the amount of lycopene they provide. Lycopene is a phytochemical found in red produce (including watermelon and pink grapefruit).

AICR says a growing number of studies suggest that lycopene may protect against prostate cancer and possibly skin cancer. Tomatoes also contain vitamin C, an antioxidant.

When you buy tomato products, always choose the no-salt-added or low-sodium versions. Then add your own delicious herbs, garlic and vegetables — all cancer-preventive as well, says AICR.

Cooking a batch of sauce from fresh tomatoes is easy.

Here are some recipes provided by AICR.


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

12 lbs. fresh tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

6 tsp. dried basil, rosemary or marjoram — or a combination

1/3 cup bottled lemon juice

Pinch sugar, if desired

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In large stew or soup pot set over medium heat, heat oil and swirl to coat bottom of pot. Add tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice and sugar, if desired.

Simmer for 8 minutes, then bring tomatoes to boil then lower heat. Simmer for another 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened.

Taste and re-season, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cool and apportion into containers. Freeze to use as needed.

Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 93 calories, 2 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 18 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 23 mg sodium.

Our recipe for tomato sauce with meatballs appeals to meat lovers while sneaking in onion, garlic, spinach and a little hot pepper for extra cancer-prevention..



1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2-3 finely chopped garlic cloves

1 (28-oz.) can no salt added crushed tomatoes

1 (28-oz.) can no salt added whole plum tomatoes in tomato sauce

2 Tbsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste


1 lb. 93-95 percent lean ground beef

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

¼ cup Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook until onions are translucent, 3 minutes, stirring so garlic does not burn. Add tomatoes, breaking whole ones into pieces. Add oregano and red pepper flakes.

Simmer sauce, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine meat, spinach, breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, egg and pepper until well combined. Divide mixture into eight large or 16 small meatballs.

Gently drop uncooked meatballs into sauce, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 40 minutes.

If not serving immediately, cool meatballs and sauce together in big bowl until room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat, covered, in large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Serve over whole-wheat spaghetti or whole-wheat rolls.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 380 calories, 13 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 36 g carbohydrate, 36 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 480 mg sodium.

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