In "The Godfather," capo Peter Clemenza teaches Don Vito Corleone's youngest son Michael how to make Sunday gravy.
"Come here ... You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday," he says. "Start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic, then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it and make sure it doesn't stick."
These red-sauce-loving mobsters probably had no idea their concoction could do more than coat linguini. It also protects the prostate.
New research confirms that eating cooked tomatoes may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A study published in Cancer Causes & Control followed more than 27,000 men without cancer for almost eight years. The researchers found that men who consumed canned or cooked tomatoes four or more times a week had a lower risk for prostate cancer than those who never consumed tomatoes.
The most dramatic benefits were seen in guys who consumed about one-third of a cup daily, compared with no tomato intake.
Tomatoes contain high levels of a polyphenolic compound called lycopene that's made more bioavailable when heated. Other foods high in this nutrient include red bell peppers, watermelon, papaya, and guava.
Lucky for you, tomato season is right around the corner. For fabulous recipes using cooked and canned tomatoes, preorder Dr. Mike's "What to Cook When Cookbook." In August, you can discover dishes such as Chunky Roasted Tomato Salsa, Eggplant Sliders El-Roma, and Pasta with Harissa-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach.