Tomatoes Boost Performance
You know that tomatoes are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients like lycopene, but did you know they can boost athletic performance and maybe even longevity?
Studies have shown that practical dosages can deliver benefits fairly quickly. For instance, track athletes supplementing with 75ml of tomato juice after a training session for 60 days had blood samples drawn. The results showed that their antioxidant defense systems had improved, evidenced by increased glutathione concentration and reduced lipid peroxidation.
The supplementing group also covered more distance in 12 minutes of work while increasing their step rates. In short, they had better performance and recovery by consuming tomatoes.
A separate study on healthy young women (ages 20-30) who supplemented with 280ml of tomato juice (containing 32.5 mg of lycopene) daily for two months had their metabolic indices measured. Tomato juice supplementation significantly reduced body weight, body fat, waist circumference, BMI, serum cholesterol levels and inflammatory biomarkers.
Tomato Sauce for Health?
Lycopene is absorbed best when the tomato is cooked. This means salsa, tomato sauces, and ketchup can all be good sources.
And then there are the anti-carcinogenic effects. A study showed that eating 2-4 servings of tomato sauce per week was associated with a risk reduction of 35% for total prostate cancer and 50% reduction for advanced prostate cancer. Another showed that lycopene inhibited cell proliferation and increased apoptosis in breast and colon cancer cell lines.
Tomatidine is another compound found in tomatoes shown to lower serum cholesterol and LDL levels and reduce overall atherogenesis. In addition, tomatidine has shown promising results in a study on human and mice cells to stimulate mTORC1 signaling. Tomatidine also reduced skeletal muscle atrophy while stimulating hypertrophy and increased strength and exercise capacity in mice.
Include more homemade tomato sauces, salsas, juices and even non-sugary ketchup into your diet. Sun-dried tomatoes are another good option. And make sure to throw in some green tomatoes as well.
- Ramaswamy, L., & Indirani, K. (2011). Effect of supplementation of tomato juice on the oxidative stress of selected athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 8(Suppl 1). doi:10.1186/1550-2783-8-s1-p21
- Li, Y., Chang, Y., Huang, H., Wu, Y., Yang, M., & Chao, P. (2015). Tomato juice supplementation in young women reduces inflammatory adipokine levels independently of body fat reduction. Nutrition, 31(5), 691-696. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.11.008
- Giovannucci, E. (2002). A Review of Epidemiologic Studies of Tomatoes, Lycopene, and Prostate Cancer. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 227(10), 852-859. doi:10.1177/153537020222701003
- Teodoro, A., Oliveira, F., Martins, N., Maia, G. D., Martucci, R., & Borojevic, R. (2012). Effect of lycopene on cell viability and cell cycle progression in human cancer cell lines. Cancer Cell International, 12(1), 36. doi:10.1186/1475-2867-12-36
- Dyle, M. C., Ebert, S. M., Cook, D. P., Kunkel, S. D., Fox, D. K., Bongers, K. S., . . . Adams, C. M. (2014). Systems-based Discovery of Tomatidine as a Natural Small Molecule Inhibitor of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy. Journal of Biological Chemistry,289(21), 14913-14924. doi:10.1074/jbc.m114.556241