The study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology is the latest to endorse the health benefits of tomatoes, alongside other Italian staples, in combatting cancer, as well as heart disease.
The new research found that tomato extracts from two different Southern Italian regions, the San Marzano and Corbarino tomatoes, may help stop stomach cancer cell growth and prevent the cells from morphing into malignant mechanisms.
Researchers further concluded that tapping into this cancer fighting ability may be used in the future to both prevent and treat different forms of gastric cancer. And the best part is that folks can enjoy these benefits simply by eating ripe tomatoes without buying special extracts.
“There antitumor effect seems not to be related one specific component such as lycopene but rather to the whole tomato itself,” says lead author Daniela Barone in a recent statement.
Tara Gidus Collingwood, the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic basketball team and author of the “Flat Belly Cookbook,” tells Newsmax Health that it’s not only tomatoes that are a healthy part of Italian cuisine, but other foods associated with the Mediterranean diet.
Here’s a rundown:
Olive oil. This Italian favorite is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that help lower your LDL or so-called “bad” cholesterol, especially when used to replace saturated fat. “Watch the calorie count, however,” warns Collingwood. “One tablespoon has 125 calories so use it sparingly.”
Red wine. Although red wine has disease fighting phytonutrients such as resveratrol and anthocyanins which are linked to heart health, Collingwood again says that moderation is the key to reaping its health benefits. “A glass or two daily is fine, but don’t overdo,” she says.
Garlic. Garlic has been linked to heart health and reducing certain cancers in several scientific studies. Cardiologist Dr. Matthew Budoff, of the University of California-Los Angeles, found that Aged Garlic Extract even reduced dangerous plaque buildup in arteries. This staple of Italian cuisine is also thought to be an antifungal and antibacterial agent.
Farro. This traditional and delicious Italian grain is high in fiber, protein and iron. It’s chewy, nutty texture is a healthy way to get disease-fighting whole grains into your diet.
Figs. Just two of these healthy autumn treats are a great way to increase your fiber intake and provide 1/10 of your daily potassium requirement.
Eggplant. This nightshade plant is packed with several phytonutrients that act as antioxidants to stop free radical damage. It’s also a very versatile vegetable that makes an ideal meat replacement when grilled.
Fish. Fresh fish is an excellent source of selenium and niacin and the oily varieties, often featured in Italian cuisine, contains heart and brain healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Canned sardines work well too, notes the expert.
Ricotta. This commonly consumed cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium. A half cup contains 14 grams of protein and 25 percent of your daily calcium requirements. Choose part-skim ricotta to slash calories without sacrificing lots of flavor.
White beans. Italians often cook with white beans. Think of the classic, mouth-watering soup Pasta e Fagioli. White beans are load with fiber, protein and potassium and make an excellent lunch or dinner dish.
Leafy greens. Delicious greens such as escarole, broccoli rabe and spinach are frequent guests on Italian menus. Leafy greens are great sources of vitamins A, C and K as well as folate. Plus they add fiber to your meal and promote a healthy digestive tract,
Pasta. What’s an Italian meal without pasta? “When pasta is cooked al dente, it is actually fairly low on the glycemic index,” notes Collingwood. “It’s a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide energy and is packed with B vitamins. Pasta is also an excellent vehicle for nutrition when paired with tomatoes, leafy greens and beans.”
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