You may have heard that tomatoes and processed tomato products like tomato sauce and canned tomatoes protect against some types of cancer. The cancer-preventing properties of tomato products have been attributed to lycopene. It is a bright red pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits and is the cause of their red color. Unlike other fruits and vegetables, where nutritional content such as vitamin C is diminished upon cooking, processing of tomatoes increases the concentration of lycopene. Lycopene in tomato paste is four times more than in fresh tomatoes. This is because lycopene is insoluble in water and is tightly bound to vegetable fiber. Thus, processed tomato products such as pasteurized tomato juice, so up, sauce, and ketchup contain the highest concentrations of lycopene. Cooking and crushing tomatoes as in the canning process and serving in oil-rich dishes such as spaghetti sauce or pizza greatly increase assimilation from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Lycopene is a fat-soluble substance, so the oil is said to help absorption to a great extent.