Lycopene in Tomatoes: Which is the Best?

“What tomato has the highest lycopene  content? I see different catalogs will say that theirs is the best, but I want the one that is really the best. Please help!

Thank you,

David Hunter”

________________________________________________________________Bulgarian Triumph

Hi David,

Thank you for the question regarding Lycopene content in tomatoes.  For the most part, your run of the mill red tomatoes have about the same amount of lycopene (approximately 4.6 mg per cup of raw fruit).  However, Health Kick Hybrid VFFASt is the best, as it has about 6 mg per cup of raw fruit.

In general, the brighter the red, the more lycopene content you have.  If the flesh is more red-orange, there is more beta carotene and other yellow-pigmented carotenoids mixed in.  If you go with a more deep red to red-purple tomato, there are more anthocyanins in the flesh.

One thing that you may not know — cooked tomatoes have up to about 170% more lycopene than raw tomatoes.  It’s not that cooking the tomato makes more lycopene develop, but that the cooking process breaks down the tissue.  If you were to eat a tomato raw, your teeth only break the fruit down so much and then your stomach does a little more.  But in the end, you still have chunks that go undigested.  Cooking makes the tomato more broken apart to start with, and then the chewing and digestion in the stomach breaks it apart more.  So, if you make or purchase tomato paste, there are about 60mg lycopene per cup.  Tomato sauce has about 34.2mg per cup and ketchup has about 2.6 mg per tablespoon.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.


© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.








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