The process of canning tomatoes releases a greater amount of a phytochemical called lycopene. Lycopene contains antioxidants called carotenoids, which are responsible for giving tomatoes their rich, red pigments. Lycopene is known to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and providing protection from cancers such as prostate, breast and pancreatic. The carotenoid family of antioxidants is fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats. Pair your canned tomatoes with avocado, olive oil or nuts to increase the absorption of this antioxidant to get the full benefits of lycopene.
Canned tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which promotes good immune health; canned tomatoes have more than twice the potassium as bananas. For an even healthier option, choose the no-salt-added varieties.