Organic tomato products are most beneficial, because they are made from tomatoes that are free of any malignant additives, pesticides or herbicides. These can actually be harmful to your health, and are more likely to induce disease than prevent it. Furthermore, tomatoes in organic products have been processed when ripe, which means that they have kept their full nutritive potential.
Cooking tomatoes with olive oil further improves their potency, because lycopene and beta-carotene are soluble in oil but not water. Therefore, cooking tomatoes in olive oil prepares these beneficial chemicals perfectly for absorption by the body.
In order to obtain full benefits from tomatoes, you should aim for 3 to 5 servings each week, according to WebMD. Each of the following variants count for one serving; try them with half to one teaspoonful of virgin olive oil: cooked tomatoes (two medium whole tomatoes); pasta sauce (125ml); purée (two tbsp); soup (250ml); fresh juice (250ml); paste (two tbsp).
*Marisa Porrini, Patrizia Riso, and Giulio Testolin, Absorption of Lycopene from Single or Daily Portions of Raw and Processed Tomato, British Journal of Nutrition 80: 353-361 (October 1998)
The Red Bodyguard: The amazing health-promoting properties of the tomato' by pharmacist Ron Levin