Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties, plus benefits to heart health. Now, research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center, at Tufts University, in Boston, Massachusetts, has found that consuming tomatoes—particularly their lycopene content— can also help prevent and even treat both liver disease and cancer of the liver.
The researchers combed through 241 studies and scientific papers to connect the dots. They report that lycopene up regulates the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) protein, meaning it increases the number of receptors on cell surfaces, thereby increasing cellular response to it. SIRT1 activation is recognized to protect against obesity-induced inflammation and degeneration of the liver, explain the study’s authors. Lycopene was found to protect against fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis and the formation of cancer in the liver and lungs.
Multiple studies have shown cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce offer increased bioavailability of healthful lycopene.