Posted by Eric Hofmann on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 Under: Health and Fitness blog
The tomato. Just everyone knows what they are and just about everyone has given these delightful vegetables a try and at very least enjoys the pizza sauce & ketchup from these treats. Delight on your senses and nourish your body with these succulent, vine-ripened treats.

A member of the nightshade family, tomatoes were originally small berries that grew on a South American shrub. Today, there are than a thousand varieties grown around the world. From deep red to vivid orange and even dark purple, tomatoes come in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. While we classify them as a vegetables because of their low sugar content, tomatoes are, botanically speaking, fruits. Since tomatoes are quite perishable, most grocery stores carry those that have been picked green, then forced to ripen, losing flavor and nutrients in the process. When purchasing, look for firm, vine-ripened tomatoes that are fragrant and richly colored. Late summer brings a great tomato harvest.

Bursting with vitamins C and A, tomatoes also are rich in the phytonutrient lycopene. A naturally occurring antioxidant that helps protect cells from oxygen damage, lycopene is a good defense against many types of cancer. Lycopene is concentrated in any cooked form, including tomato paste and ketchup, and, significantly, a study conducted by the USDA agricultural research service found that organic brands contained as much as five times more lycopene than non-organic brands. A 2007 study at the University of California at Davis reported that raw, organic tomatoes also can have more antioxidants than raw, non-organic tomatoes - a whooping 79 to 97 percent more. So opt for organic when available. Low in sugar and high in fiber, tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. Studies have shown that tomato juice acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps reduce blood-clotting tendencies.

Whether slow-simmered in sauce, enjoyed raw on salads, pureed in cold soups, or lightly sauteed with vegtables, pastas, poultry, meats, fish or shellfish, fresh tomatoes are a wonderful addition and complement to countless meals. Slice a variety of fresh heirloom tomatoes and fan tehm out on a platter. Add fresh basil, sliced fresh mozarella cheese, freshly ground pepper and coarse sea salt, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. For a colorful side dish, saute cherry, grape, pear or plum tomatoes. Lightly pierce the skins of the tomatoes with a pin to help prevent them from brusting. Saute in olive oil over medium heat. Season with chopped fresh basil, oregano or flat leaf parsley, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Using vegetable juicer, make a healthful vegetabl juice by combining fresh tomatoes with carrots, beets, spinach, cabbage, bell peppers, celery, onion and garlic.

Here are a few links for some great tomato based recipes!


Hopefully you armed now with a little more information in regards to this seemingly everyday vegetable (or maybe fruit depending who you ask). Have a great day!

In : Health and Fitness blog 

Tags: tomatoes  lycopene 
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