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'Tasti-Lee' boasts high lycopene levels

Bejo Seeds Inc. has a new reason to promote the health benefits of its "Tasti-Lee" brand of tomatoes. In addition to the well-recognized benefits of vitamin C and potassium, all tomatoes also contain lycopene,; however, recent studies have shown that the "Tasti-Lee" contains up to 50 percent more lycopene than traditional varieties.

Tasti-Lee-Lycopene-Sticker-The company will be promoting that difference with a new sticker that will be unveiled at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit in Anaheim, CA.

The difference is due to both breeding and the way "Tasti-Lee" tomatoes are grown - outdoors in rich, healthy soil, with fresh air and clean water until they are vine-ripened by sunshine.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lycopene is a carotenoid that has been identified as an antioxidant with the potential for several health benefits. There have been numerous studies that correlate high intake of lycopene with reduced incidents of both cancer and heart disease. However, these studies have so far been unable to make definitive conclusions on how much lycopene is needed and just how beneficial lycopene may be versus the other vitamins in tomatoes.

On Oct. 9, the peer-reviewed journal Neurology published a study that concluded a high serum concentration of lycopene obtained from consuming tomatoes decreases the risk of stroke in men.