Diluted Seawater Boosts Nutritional Content of Tomatoes

A 12% solution increased levels of antioxidants, researchers say

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FRIDAY, April 25, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- You can grow a healthier tomato by watering it with diluted seawater, a new study shows.

In an experiment in which researchers grew cherry tomatoes in either freshwater or a diluted solution of 12 percent seawater, the salt-water tomatoes developed higher levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, dihydrolipoic acid and chlorogenic acid. Each substance is an antioxidant that may help fight heart disease, cancer, aging and other conditions.

The findings, expected to be published in the May 14 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, hold promise not only for health reasons, but also because using salt water to irrigate tomato crops could ease potable-water shortages in some parts of the world, the researchers noted.

In recent years, tomatoes have been linked to several possible health benefits, including protection against prostate cancer and heart disease.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about antioxidants and cancer protection.

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, April 2008

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