Because lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient, you can increase its absorption by eating it alongside a food rich in healthy fats. A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition tested the absorption of lycopene with respect to tomatoes cooked in olive oil, a combination characteristic of the Southern Mediterranean diet.
The study authors noted previous research has proven lycopene absorption is increased with respect to processed tomatoes as compared to fresh tomatoes because "the processing breaks down the tomato cell matrix and makes the lycopene more available."
The goal of the current research was to determine the effects of pairing cooked tomatoes with olive oil. The researchers measured plasma lycopene concentrations for healthy participants who ate a low-lycopene diet and again following a five-day dietary intervention during which time the participants ate one meal a day containing 470 grams of tomatoes cooked with or without 25 milliliters of olive oil.
The participants consuming the cooked tomatoes and olive oil showed an 82-percent increase in plasma trans-lycopene and a 40 percent increase in cis-lycopene concentrations. About the results, the study authors said:
"The addition of olive oil to diced tomatoes during cooking greatly increases the absorption of lycopene. The results highlight the importance of … how a food is prepared and consumed in determining the bioavailability of dietary carotenoids such as lycopene."
If you are not fond of olive oil, you might consider adding coconut oil or Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil to your homemade tomato sauce. MCT oil, which has no taste or smell, is composed of concentrated medium chain fatty acids derived from coconut oil. Another option is to serve cooked tomatoes or homemade tomato sauce with organic grass fed beef.
Article Source: Dr Mercola at Mercola.com