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Tomatoes offer vitamin C – and a lot else besides. It turns out that they are rich in important carotenoids, including lycopene – a relative of the more celebrated beta carotene. Lycopene appears to help prevent prostate cancer. Oddly enough, cooked and processed tomatoes contain lycopene that’s more readily available to the body. Ounce for ounce, processed tomato products (such as sauce, paste or juice) contain 2 to 4 times as much available lycopene as fresh tomatoes.
(Source: UC Berkeley Wellness Letter: Healthy Eating)