Tomato for your bone health


Lycopene (Photo credit: krossbow)

Summer reason is also known as the BBQ season for many people, especially in Canada. We love to have tomatoes on the burgers, salad and use them for appetizers as well. However, did you know that tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, which is a bone-protective antioxident.

Studies show that 30mg of lycopene a day significantly reduced both oxidative damage and bone breakdown. Other studies showed that as little as 12.64 mg lycopene a day lowered fracture risk. So you can double or even triple the tomato slices on your sandwich next time.

This tomato salad recipe is provided by Vanessa Yeung, Chef and owner of Aphrodite CooksHeirloom Tomato and White Bean Salad

Balsamic and Caper Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon caper juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Combine all ingredients together in a blender and puree for 1 minute. Set aside.

Tomato Salad

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 6 vine ripened tomatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, torn
  • 1/4 cup of Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup of low sodium white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 kalamata olives
  • 1 pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes, or yellow grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 350 F..
  2. To make the salad combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, parsley, cucumbers, white kidney beans, olives, feta cheese and the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Toss well and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

Tomato products and lycopene content

Tomato product               Serving Size          Lycopene content

Tomato paste                          1cup                             75.4 mg

Tomato puree, canned          1 cup                            54.38 mg

Tomato sauce, canned           1 cup                           34.25 mg

Pasta sauce, canned               1 cup                           31.66 mg

Vegetable juice cocktail         1 cup                           23.38 mg

Tomato juice                            1 cup                          21.91 mg

Tomato soup                            1 cup                          13.05 to 22 mg

Tomato, raw                             1 cup                          4.6 mg

The chart shows that a cup of tomato paste contains much more lycopene than a cup of raw tomato. Studies show that the lycopene content and its antioxident level increase substantially when the tomatoes are cooked. The take home point is to eat as much varieties of food as possible, some raw, some lightly steamed and some cooked. You will get all the benefits you need from food.

If you are sensitive to tomatoes, you can also enjoy other red fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, gac (a Vietnamese fruit) or pink grapefruit.


  1. Leticia G. Rao, Nupura Krishnadev, Katharine Banasikowska, and A. Venket Rao. Journal of Medicinal Food. July 2003, 6(2): 69-78
  2. Sahni, S et al., Protective Effect of Total Carotenoid and Lycopene Intake On The Risk Of Hip Fracture: A 17 Year, Follow-Up From the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, JBMR, Vol. 24, No.6.2009
  3. Mackinnon, ES et al., Supplementation with the Antioxidant Lycopene Significantly Decreases Oxidative Stress Parameters In The Bone Resorption Marker N-telopeptide  Of Type I Collagen In Postmenopausal Women.  Osteoporosis international (2011) 22:1091-1101
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1 Response to Tomato for your bone health

  1. Pingback: My Tomatoes | FOOD, FACTS and FADS

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