As one who dislikes raw tomatoes, I pick up on anything that reinforces my choice to not eat them. I have extolled their nastiness here, so I won't go into that again, but thanks to my friend Charlotte, over at Dirt du Jour, chalk one up on the side of eating them cooked, not raw.
She brought to my attention a news article reporting on studies that state the virtues of lycopene. No surprise there. We all know that lycopene is a valuable anti-oxidant that is beneficial to our skin, and helps protect us against certain types of cancer as well as osteoporosis. Lycopene also provides some protection from the sun's UV rays.
But did you know that cooking those tomatoes greatly increases the body's ability to absorb that lycopene? Just like carrots, cooking them makes them better, healthwise. Yeah, I don't like raw carrots either. Maybe my body just senses what is good for it. (Not sure why I crave English toffee, however.)
Not only that, but when eaten with a small amount of oil or fat (such as cheese on pizza), the ability of lycopene to be absorbed by the intestines is enhanced.¹
Let me say that again: Cooked tomatoes are better for you than raw ones. That means you should eat more ketchup, tomato soup, chili soup, pizza, spaghetti sauce, and drink more tomato juice.
Lucky me, I like all those things.
¹Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, "Health properties of tomatoes," WebMD, date accessed March 24, 2013.