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Apulian Cooking
The tomato
king of good health and beauty
It contains lycopene, a substance that has extraordinary antioxidant powers and which prevents many illnesses.
Cooking does not dent its nutritional properties
by Novella Pranzo
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Photo by Dario Ersetti

Burnt grain 


4 servings: 

- 400 g of fusilli pasta

- 250 g of cherry tomatoes

- 1 garlic glove

- smoked salted ricotta

- extra virgin olive oil

- salt


Nutrition facts per serving:  

- energy: 480 Kcal

- protein: 15 g

- fat: 14 g

- saturated fat: 1,5 g

- carbohydrate: 79 g

- sugar: 5 g



      The principal ingredient in this exquisite recipe is the tomato, which contains very few calories but is very rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, and electrolytes like potassium and phosphorus. Among the carotenoids the most important, along with beta-carotene, is lycopene.

      Tomato aids digestion, improves gastric motility, and eliminates excess proteins in diets rich in meat. Studies carried out in various countries worldwide have shown that lycopene is one of the most important antioxidants present in nature. It has well-known positive effects on the skin, slowing down the aging process, and it helps protect against ultraviolet rays. It contributes, also, to keeping cholesterol and hypertension under control.

      This wonderful carotenoid also contributes to the prevention of atherogenesis and carcinogenesis, and is in fact capable of slowing down the proliferation of cancer cells and protects against them by oxidizing LDL, their principle source of transport. It is a true gift from nature to fight against heart attacks, strokes, and thrombosis.

      These same studies have demonstrated that in groups of people who consumed at least 6 servings of tomatoes a week, the risk of gastro enteric and prostate tumors diminished 40-50%.

      Important sources of lycopene are principally found in ripe tomatoes and, in spite of what you might think, cooked tomatoes. The difference from lycopene and other substances is that the quantity of lycopene increases with a rise in temperature and it is absorbed more easily in the presence of fats. For the maximum absorption of lycopene consume a plate of pasta with lightly cooked tomatoes.

      An element not to undervalue in this antioxidant is that it accumulates and is stored up in our bodies so it can defend our health also in periods in when you do not eat them.

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