Friday, 25 May 2012

Nigerian Cysters and Tinned/Canned Tomatoes

Tinned/Canned Tomatoes

I've blogged in the past about foods that should be avoided if you have PCOS and more so if you're trying to conceive. I thought I'd make this post to reiterate that point with particular regard to the Nigerian diet. 

We consume a lot of tomatoes in Nigerian cooking. Nowadays more and more people rely on tinned/canned tomatoes for convenience and to save time cooking. Looking back several years, it's occurred to me that one of the changes I made that may have caused my PCOS to flare up was consuming more tinned tomatoes. Stews and jollof rice were made using tinned tomatoes and I ate one or the other EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Not just plum peeled tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes but tomato puree as well. Any form of canned/tinned tomatoes is bad because the acid in tomatoes causes the chemicals in the tin to leach into the tomatoes. BPA is a chemical commonly found in the plastics used to line the tins to create a barrier between the product and the tins to prevent rust. It is a well known and scientifically established hormone disruptor. It has been banned in baby bottles in some countries and has been said to be responsible for the escalation of metabolic syndrome. 

Needless to say, if you consume tinned tomatoes on a regular basis it will accumulate in the body and wreak havoc on your system. By extension, in my opinion, the same would go for other canned foods with high acidity, such as canned fruits. In addition to reducing - if not eliminating - the intake of canned foods, one should also avoid microwaving foods in plastic containers. 

The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A
The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people's body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."
The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe's and Pomi.
I'm not going to give a 'balanced' view on canned tomatoes. The fact that when I didn't eat it and was better off hormonal is sufficient for me to cut it off completely. Interestingly back then I opted for tomatoes packaged in tetra paks because they were cheaper without knowing they were relatively healthier. Even then I wasn't eating it on a daily basis. 
If you are looking for a BPA free alternative to tinned/canned tomatoes, look out for those packaged in tetra paks such as shown above.

Still worth further reading on the safety of tetra paks is the following article -

1 comment: