Benefits of lycopene

Tomatoes For Mouth Health

Want a healthy mouth? Put a tomato in it.

According to a study published in the journal Oral Oncology, the lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the symptoms of oral leukoplakia, a lesion that develops on the tongue or inside the cheek, and can lead to cancer.

Researchers recruited nearly 60 people with oral leukoplakia and divided them into three groups: one received 8 mg of lycopene daily; one received 4 mg of lycopene; and one received a placebo. After three months, 55 percent in the 8 mg group had a complete absence of lesions. In the 4 mg group, 25 percent were without lesions. And none of the members of the placebo group were cured of the lesions.

A five-ounce tomato contains about 8 mg of lycopene, but lycopene is better absorbed by the body when the tomato is in the form of paste and heated.

Oral leukoplakia is a mucous membrane disorder that’s caused by irritation, primarily from rough spots on teeth or smoking. Pipe smoking can be particularly irritating, as is the use of chewing tobacco or snuff. About 3 percent of the lesions become cancerous.

So to avoid advanced lesions that may require surgical removal, heat up some tomato paste to enjoy with your favorite foods.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson

Health Sciences Institute
“A Tomato a Day Reverses a Precancerous Mouth Condition” Maureen Williams, M.D., Healthnotes Newswire, 4/29/04,