The blue tomato is a transgenic fruit with a high level of anthocyanin, a highly valuable antioxidant. See how to take advantage of it and what differentiates it from the traditional red tomato.
The blue tomato is a recently created transgenic fruit. It was developed 8 years ago for medicinal purposes in Norwich, UK, in an experiment conducted by more than 300 scientists.
The genes of a common tomato were altered and some belonging to the ornamental snapdragon flower of the Antirrhinum majus plant , which has an intense purple color, were added. They are rich in a pigment with recognized antioxidant properties called anthocyanin.
The fruit obtained from transgenesis is indigo blue on the outside and its intensity increases with the sun’s rays. Inside it maintains the traditional red color when ripe and has almost no seeds. Are you curious to know about the benefits and properties that blue tomatoes provide for health?
Properties and benefits of blue tomato
Although it has not been commercialized in a massive way, in countries like Canada, the United States, and Spain they are being produced on a large scale for specialized stores. The concentration of anthocyanin in tomatoes was enhanced and in the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants, they were created for the elaboration of vaccines.
The properties and benefits of the blue tomato are due to the presence of a powerful antioxidant pigment called anthocyanin. But what are they? Anthocyanins are a group of water-soluble substances belonging to the group of flavonoids, responsible for colors ranging from red to blue in vegetables.
They are used as natural colorants, improving not only the appearance of food but also providing added value for consumption. They remain intact as they pass through the digestive tract, maintaining their antioxidant activity. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of blue tomato consumption.
Antioxidant effect and eye diseases
A group of Japanese researchers demonstrated the effect of blue tomato extract as an antioxidant. Its anthocyanins, especially petunidin, were able to inhibit peroxide that induces cell death and damage to retinal photoreceptor cells. Blue tomato extract could be a prophylactic treatment to prevent oxidative stress that causes eye diseases.
Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
Fruits rich in anthocyanins are capable of capturing and neutralizing oxidizing agents, such as hydrogen peroxide and free radicals. These can cause oxidative stress associated with endothelial dysfunction and clogging of the arteries, leading to cardiovascular accidents.
Possible anticancer action
Gonzali recently conducted a pilot experiment described in the journal Antioxidants in cancer mice fed blue tomatoes. The extension of their half-life was demonstrated when comparing them with sick mice and supplemented with traditional red tomatoes.
It is speculated that tomatoes enriched in anthocyanins could benefit the health of these animals. There are no certain tests in humans yet and the effect should be considered only experimental at this time.
Nitric oxide is an oxidizing agent and mediator of the inflammatory process, produced by macrophages. Concentrated extracts of anthocyanins have an inhibitory effect on the production of the substance. In addition, they reduce prostaglandins, especially EG2, which is also active in inflammation.
The positive effect of anthocyanins in the improvement of diabetic retinopathy has been known for more than two decades. In an article published in the Journal of Food Science, Tristán demonstrated the hypoglycemic properties of anthocyanin consumption in diabetic patients.
They inhibit digestive enzymes, such as alpha-amylase, which is responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates. This allows for slower digestibility and a decrease in the rate of glucose absorption.
Anti-aging and cognitive behavior
The protective action of anthocyanins as free radical blockers delay cellular aging, including that of brain tissue. The consumption of these pigments decreases the deterioration of memory, increasing concentration and intellectual performance.
Other benefits of blue tomato
Tomato with anthocyanins helps liver function. In addition, it prevents the oxidation of blood cholesterol and its intervention in the formation of atheromatous plaques in the arteries.
What differentiates the blue tomato from other types of tomatoes?
There are obvious differences and others not so much between the blue tomato and the traditional ones. The most notorious is color, while other sensory ones must be tasted to distinguish them .
Among the sensory differences we find the following:
- Color: the blue tomato has 11 types of anthocyanins that enhance its color. The most important are petunidin, malvidin, and delphinidin. They are soluble in water and give a violet-blue color. Lycopene was also found in the skin, but its red color is dulled by anthocyanins. In traditional tomatoes, the color is given exclusively by lycopene.
- Texture, taste, and smell: the blue tomato has a juicier texture than the traditional one and its taste and smell are more reminiscent of plums. Its juices are blue, so it is recommended in salads and jam preparation. Traditional tomatoes are sweeter and juiciness depends on ripeness.
Nutritional and functional differences
Among the nutritional differences we will mention the following:
- Vitamins and minerals: the blue tomato has higher contents of vitamin A, pyridoxine, vitamin C and K. Minerals such as iron and calcium, which are not usually present in common tomatoes, are found in a very high proportion. Potassium levels are also above.
- Antioxidant: the genetic modification of the blue tomato to enrich it in anthocyanin from the flavonoids of the snapdragon flower has allowed it to be declared a modified superfood. The rest of the tomatoes contain fat-soluble carotenoids, such as lycopene.
Blue tomatoes can be used in traditional cooking as part of salads . Its fruity flavor and less acid contrast with the other tomatoes. They can be combined to make dressings and sauces, attractive blue or purple-colored juices, and tasty jams.
You should try to prepare these tomatoes without heating since their water-soluble pigment is unstable to heat and modifies the color. In addition to the loss of pigment in the cooking water. An ideal recipe is the forceful blue tomato salad, accompanied by cucumber, gherkin, onions, and a rich artichoke. Season with olive oil, mustard, oregano, capers, salt, and pepper.
The inclusion of blue tomato as an ingredient rich in antioxidants improves the functional qualities of the eating plan. However, it is recommended not to abuse its consumption until more scientific studies are developed on its direct use in the control and prevention of certain diseases. Bon appetit and good health!Tags: benefits of blue tomato, blue tomato