Many of you have heard of the carotenoid Lycopene, which is a buzz word in not only the medical community but also the skin care world. The benefits of this super antioxidant is miles long and as important as helping to minimize the risk of certain types of cancer.
The exciting skin care news is that we can help protect ourselves from the dangerous UV rays by eating lycopene rich foods. According to a study by the British Society for Investigative Dermatology subjects who had higher levels of Lycopene in their diet, (tomato paste was the source) had 33 % more protection against sun burn and damage.
Here is a great website listing food sources and levels of lycopene in each: http://www.leffingwell.com/lycopene.htm
Most of the research I have read claims the highest amounts can be found in tomatoes, especially concentrated forms (tomato paste) and from cooked rather than raw tomatoes. Here is a recipe I make for my husband and I often to get my lycopene fix-hope you enjoy!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put 1 pint organic cherry or grape tomatoes in oven safe dish. Drizzle 1 tbls Olive Oil, pinch of salt and pepper and combine. Roast for 30 minutes.
In a small sauce pan add a few drizzles of olive oil and half a yellow onion chopped and let cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add a few cloves chopped garlic for one minute. Add one can of tomato sauce, 1 tbls tomato paste, one pinch of each: red pepper flakes/salt/pepper/thyme (use fresh if you have it) stir and let simmer.
Meanwhile add 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta to salted boiling water, cook according to directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and put back in pot.
Add the roasted tomatoes, the tomato sauce and the pasta water to the pot with pasta. Add lots of fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Try not to have seconds.