There isn’t much I love more than an amazingly fresh, ripe tomato in the summer. You know, the ones you can eat like an apple, or just slice and eat with salt and pepper? On the other hand, there is not much I hate more than a mealy, unripe tomato. Good thing it is summer and tomatoes are everywhere, and they are all delicious. Did I mention tomatoes are one of the best foods you can eat? And they are affordable when purchased in-season. Here are some facts about the much-loved but underestimated tomato:
– One cup of tomatoes supplies 32% of the daily value for vitamin C and 25% for vitamin A.
– Tomatoes Fight Prostate Cancer: the lycopene in tomatoes is a potent cancer-fighter and seems to be particularly helpful in the prevention of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that eating actual tomatoes seems to be more protective than taking a lycopene supplement and organic tomato products have been found to have more lycopene than nonorganic. Also, the lycopene is better absorbed from cooked tomatoes, such as tomato sauce and paste. Lycopene is fat-soluble, so cooking the tomatoes with a bit of oil further increases the body’s absorption of the nutrient. (Monica Reinagel, chief nutritionist for Nutrition Data)
– Tomatoes Aid Heart Health: In addition to lycopene, tomatoes provide numerous other heart-healthy nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6. (George Mateljan, author, The World’s Healthiest Food)
– Tomatoes Help You Absorb More Nutrients: The vitamin C in tomatoes helps the body absorb other important nutrients, including iron and calcium.
– Tomatoes Are Low in Calories: A whole medium tomato has only 22 calories, according to Nutrition Data, so tomatoes make great “filler,” adding volume, moisture, and, of course, flavor to salads, sandwiches, stews, and other meals.
– Tomatoes Are an Excellent Source of Fiber: Fiber prevents constipation; lowers the risk of digestive problems; lowers blood cholesterol; controls blood sugar levels; and aids in weight loss. One cup of chopped or sliced tomatoes has nine percent of the daily value for fiber.
– Tomatoes can be used in side dishes, soups, appetizers, salads, pastas, and main courses.
– Tomatoes are in season July-October. When tomatoes are not in season, got with canned tomatoes for soups, sauces, and pastas. Choose in-season produce for salads and soups when tomatoes are not in season.
Summer’s Super Food – Tomatoes