The cancer fighting pizza

It's all in the tomato sauce. The genetically engineered purple tomato sauce.

I never really understand it when people dismiss pizza as unhealthy food. Put the right stuff on it, and it's a wholesome meal full of nutrition for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Now there's yet another reason to order the extra large: Pizza could help fight cancer.

Yes, if the chef makes the sauce from the latest in tomato technology - genetically engineered purple tomatoes - a 16-inch pie could have the same health benefits as other foods such as blueberries and cranberries.

Purple tomatoes get their color from anthocyanin - a pigment also present in the berries and which is an antioxidant, a molecule believed to battle afflictions including cancer, coronary heart disease and strokes.

According to The Independent in the U.K., a shipment of purple tomato juice is on its way from Canada  to scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England, which developed the tomatoes in the first place. The paper notes: 

"Researchers hope that enhanced levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin contained in the tomatoes will improve the nutritional values of a range of foods including pizzas and ketchup. Anthocyanin has been shown to help fight cancer in animals."

The BBC quoted John Innes' Prof Cathie Martin:

"With these purple tomatoes you can get the same compounds that are present in blueberries and cranberries that give them their health benefits - but you can apply them to foods that people actually eat in significant amounts and are reasonably affordable.”

Such as pizza. Make mine a sausage and pepperoni. Hey, you only live once, and longer by purple. Nothing like antioxidants with a topping of greasy meats. You could call it the Healthy Heart Attack.

Cover photo is from John Innes Centre

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