Maybe you have never wondered why a tomato is red and not dark blue. This colour is due to the presence of a substance called lycopene, known for its powerful antioxidant action, which is also produced in watermelons and in other fruit and vegetables to a smaller extent. The human body does not produce it and when it eats it in a tomato, it is only capable of assimilating 5% of all of the lycopene ingested.
Extremadura University and a company from Badajoz decided to investigate how to make better use of this appreciated tomato antioxidant that many people take in tablet form because it protects the cells from oxidising stress. They put it together with extra virgin olive oil and discovered that the human body is capable of assimilating 90% of the lycopene when it is mixed with fat.
The company began to produce oil called Surat, which, unlike the remaining olive oils, has a soft reddish tone. This is because hundreds of pear tomatoes (a kind of tomato grown in the open air which has this antioxidant that belongs to the carotene family in a quantity ten times more than in a normal salad tomato) have been added in its production.
Lycopene is known because its consumption reduces the occurrence of certain kinds of cancer, such as lung cancer, cancer of the colon, the digestive tract and, above all, the prostate. It reduces cholesterol levels, reduces the possibility of suffering from cardiovascular disease, prevents problems of infertility, delays the signs of ageing and has anti-inflammatory properties.
The flavour too is obviously affected by the tomato and this makes it a perfect complement for any salad, pasta, rice, white fish or cheese.
Surat is presented as a gourmet oil in a design bottle reminding us of the syrups of times past to highlight its curing properties. "We try to give a qualitative leap with the oil by stressing not only its quality and flavour, but also that it is a healthy, curative product”, says Víctor Mediero, one of the members of the family that produces the oil. “The bottle looks like a syrup bottle, and we made it with this intention. We wanted it to remind people of medicinal products”.