Tomatoes Ripe Organic
Currently, tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables eaten by Americans. Tomatoes are members of the fruit family, but they are served and prepared as a vegetable. This is why most people consider them a vegetable and not a fruit. They are high in vitamin C and also provide beta-carotene. The National Cancer Institute published a study that showed an association between consuming a diet rich in tomato-based foods and a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes contain large amounts of an antioxidant called lycopene, which may be responsible for this possible positive effect. Tomato paste and sauces contain a greater amount of lycopene, because they are more concentrated than fresh tomatoes. Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment (phytochemical) found in tomatoes and other red fruits. Lycopene is the most common carotenoid in the human body and is one of the most potent carotenoid antioxidants. Its name is derived from the tomato's species classification, Solanum lycopersicum. Ironically, the highest natural concentrations of lycopene in food are found not in tomatoes, but in watermelon. Almost all dietary lycopene comes from tomato products, however. Recent research has indicated that lycopene, a carotenoid with potent antioxidant effects which is found in raw tomatoes, may be responsible for the protection against cancers. This is possibly the reason why people living in the Mediterranean who eat lots of tomatoes have a lower rate of some cancers. Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified.