You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahhto

Blueberries are one of the 8 things you should eat every day.  The reason being, that they are loaded with antioxidants.  Blueberries also help protect eyesight, promote gastrointestinal health, reduce your risk of colon and ovarian cancer, promote healthy bowel movements, and slow the onset of age-related dementias.  And that's why I put blueberries in my breakfast smoothie.  Unfortunately, Jane doesn't eat blueberries with much regularity.  She prefers them fresh, and we have about a 4-week window in August when they're available to us.  That is, available at a price we can afford.

It looks like scientists are getting close to turning on the genes that will allow tomatoes to have the same health benefits as blueberries.

The purple pigments are potent antioxidants called anthocyanins that mop up the free-radicals that cause cancer and heart disease. Anthocyanins naturally occur in blueberries, blackberries and blackcurrants, but natural tomatoes only contain negligible amounts of the compounds.

Tomato plants have all the necessary genes to create the pigments, but they are normally dormant, so the team inserted two additional genes from the snapdragon flower that trigger these genes to become active.

Source:  New Scientist Magazine -- Purple Tomatoes Could Ward Off Cancer

Of course, this is all still in the early stages.  Toxicology studies need to be performed to ensure that the "enriched" tomatoes aren't hiding negative effects as well.  There is also the question of how this pigment might affect taste.

See World's Healthiest Foods -- Blueberries for more information on the health benefits of blueberries.

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Comments

  1. I really don’t like the idea of inserting genes into tomatoes. That sounds too Monsanto-like and makes me uncomfy.

  2. I’m a blueberry lover too!

    As for the tomato: don’t mess with Mother Nature! Perhaps She didn’t make them purple for a reason.

  3. Fresh blueberries are literally my favorite food. I would eat a big bowl of them plain every day if I could. However, like Jane, frozen blueberries don’t excite me. I’ll try to incorporate them more into my diet, though, as I know they are outrageously nutritious. :)

  4. Hi Kim & Earthmother,
    It does sound Monsanto-like… But the technology is here and scientists are going to use it. Just look at the Large Hadron Collider. There was serious concern on the part of some scientists that by looking for the Higgs Bosun particle, the scientists running the experiment might actually create microscopic black holes and strange matter, which could have resulted in the end of the world. The scientists at CERN went ahead anyway.
    I often feel that we have little control over these type of things. In this particular instance, since I take supplements anyway, I don’t feel as badly about the genetic manipulation to improve the nutritional value of food. However, creating a need for certain pesticides or fertilizers is just wrong.
    I’m not sure, when push comes to shove, if I’d actually buy the product. But the science sounds intriguing.

    Hi Vegyogini,
    I keep telling Jane blueberry muffins are a great way to incorporate frozen blueberries in our diet! :-)

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