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.

4 Comments

  1. Kim Thursday, October 30, 2008
  2. earthmother Thursday, October 30, 2008
  3. Vegyogini Thursday, October 30, 2008
  4. Lane Saturday, November 1, 2008

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