SUPERFOOD: TOMATOES PACK A HEALTHY PUNCH
By Stefanie Cassetto
Nothing says summer to me like the taste of homegrown tomatoes. When I was little I would eat them straight out of the garden in our backyard. Little did I know, those delicious gems of summertime were a superfood loaded with powerful vitamins and antioxidants.
This time of year tomatoes are readily available and fresh at your local grocery or farmer’s market and make boosting the nutritional value of meals easy. Coming in an array of colors from red, green, purple, or yellow, tomatoes are known for their sweetness and their acidic qualities. They are the glue of our pasta sauces and make our salsa alive with color and flavor.
Tomatoes are rich in a phytonutrient called lycopene. Lycopene, found in tomatoes and everything made from them, has been connected to preventing cancer and heart disease. It protects against prostrate, breast, pancreatic, and intestinal cancers and packs an extra punch when combined with foods rich in the “good” fat like avocado, olive oil, or nuts.
Lycopene isn’t the only valuable antioxidant tomatoes provide. They are also a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A—antioxidants known for reducing the risk of diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and colon cancer. Tomatoes are also an excellent food to eat if you are looking to boost your fiber intake. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol, and keep blood sugar levels low.
If fresh tomatoes aren’t your style, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, or pizza sauce offer many of the same health benefits. Even organic ketchup contains the valuable lycopene that your body needs. Just be sure to avoid ketchup containing high fructose corn syrup.
Adding more tomato products to your diet is an easy change to make. You can toss them in with a salad, add them to a soup, enjoy homemade pizza night with your family, or serve them as a side dish with a meal. Sauté them, roast them, eat them raw—they are a quick an easy way to brighten up any meal! Homemade tomato sauce or tomato paste is a great way to get the health benefits of tomatoes while enjoying the flavor of summer all year long.
Add this lycopene-loaded, immune-boosting, illness-fighting superfood to your diet today. It’s an easy change that your body and health will thank you for!
GLUTEN-FREE TOMATO AND AVOCADO SALAD
- 4 tomatoes, parboiled, skinned, and diced
- 4 avocados, peeled and mashed
- 1 red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 handful fresh mushrooms, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh minced garlic
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Combine tomatoes, avocados, onions and mushrooms until just blended. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Season with garlic, salt and pepper. Serve and Enjoy.