By KAREN BAKERKINS, Associated Press A growing body of research has linked red and yellow tomatoes to heart disease, cancer and other health problems.
The new research also suggests the tomato, which is widely grown in the United States, is a source of toxins that can lead to cancer.
The tomatoes were the first vegetables studied in the U.S. after scientists found they contain toxic substances that can damage the lining of the blood vessels in the body.
It also raises concerns about the safety of tomatoes in general, including their use in salad dressings, sauces and food.
But the research also found red and white tomatoes were better sources of antioxidants and nutrients, and they were also safer for the environment.
A study published Thursday in the journal Food Chemistry found red, yellow and white red tomatoes contained more than half as much antioxidants and vitamins as blue and white varieties.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University at Albany, New York, also found the yellow and red varieties contained about half as many phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, phytosterols and polyphenols, that protect against free radicals, a group of compounds that can cause damage to DNA, DNA repair enzymes and other cellular proteins.
“Our study found the red and orange tomato varieties are significantly better in antioxidants and vitamin content, but that they’re not as healthy,” said study author Anupam Bhattacharya, an assistant professor of food science at UC Berkeley.
“We think red and green tomatoes have different health risks.”
He said red and black tomatoes were more toxic than other red and blue varieties.
A tomato is a leafy vegetable that can be grown from seed to fruit, but it has been hard to find the varieties to choose from.
It’s also hard to grow enough to meet the demand.
Red and yellow tomato varieties can be found in grocery stores, but they can be pricey.
Red tomato is more expensive than black tomato, but is typically sold at grocery stores.
In some cases, the price difference is $5 or $6.
It can be difficult to distinguish between the two, Bhatticharya said.
“It’s not clear if red and red are actually healthier than yellow and black,” he said.
Bhattbachary’s team studied 25 varieties of red and 22 varieties of white red and 26 varieties of yellow red, which are the two varieties with the highest concentrations of antioxidants.
They compared the concentrations of all four in samples taken from a variety of red, white, blue and green fruit.
They found the concentrations varied widely among the four.
The red tomato has the highest concentration of polyphenolic compounds, including vitamins A, D and E. Those compounds help protect against oxidative damage to the cell walls, which leads to cancer and heart disease.
Red, yellow, white and black red and brown tomatoes had the highest levels of polypeptides, and black, white or yellow red tomatoes had low levels.
Bittacharya said he hopes the study helps scientists find a way to improve the health of the red, red, brown and black varieties.
He said it could also help with the supply of fresh red, black and white tomato seeds.
He also said it might help identify potential tomato varieties that can withstand the heat and other environmental stresses, like the heat of cooking and the humidity.
The research team said they would like to see more research on the health effects of red tomatoes in humans.
“The health benefits of red tomato, when compared to white and blue tomatoes, are not as well known,” Bhattithary said.
He added that red tomato was probably better for people who have trouble metabolizing fat or sugar because it has more vitamins and antioxidants than white and brown varieties.
It could be that red and gray tomato produce a sweeter flavor, which helps offset the sugar taste of white and red, Bittichary said, adding that it might also help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure.
Red tomatoes have also been linked to the development of heart disease in some studies.
In one of the studies, the researchers compared the health benefits and risks of red with white, black, yellow or brown tomatoes.
Red had about half the risks of white, yellow had about twice the risks, black had about three times the risks and white had about one-third the risks as brown.
The researchers also compared the antioxidants in red to those in white, red and the other two types of tomatoes.
The antioxidants in all three types of red were the same, Battichary and his team said.
The analysis was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The Associated Press