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NewsBites April 2012 Issue

Purple Tomato Packs Antioxidant Punch

A tomato of a different color may put more antioxidants on your plate. Oregon State University scientists have developed a purple-skinned tomato, dubbed the “Indigo Rose,” that’s high in anthocyanins, pigments with antioxidant properties typically found in berries. The Indigo Rose is the result of a hybridization program that began back in the 1960s with the crossbreeding of standard tomatoes and wild varieties from Chile and the Galapagos Islands. (The purple tomatoes, scientists pointed out, are not genetically modified.) Despite its striking hue, the Indigo Rose “tastes just like a tomato,” said horticulture professor Jim Myers. He added a caution about the extra anthocyanins: “They have many varied effects on human health, but while they are powerful antioxidants in the test tube, we don’t really know whether they have an antioxidant effect in the human body.” If you’d like to try it yourself, the Indigo Rose is available for home gardens from several seed catalogs.

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