A Look at Superfoods: Tomatoes

Superfoods: Tomatoes

tomato

A 16 week look at Superfoods

 

This Week’s Featured Superfood: Tomatoes

Tomatoes have quite the history from being considered poisonous to being caught in the great fruit or vegetable debate, but no matter the drama tomatoes are packed full of healthful nutrients making it one of our 16 superfoods.

What makes Tomatoes so super?

  • Vitamin C  – Good for eye health, cardiovascular health,  repairs and regenerates tissue, decreases LDL, decrease triglycerides, is an antioxidant working against free radicals and may protect against certain types of cancer.  Vitamin C also may help reduce the effects of nitrates in food and aids in the absorption of Iron
  • Vitamin A – Vital in the growth of bone, key for good vision, important for a healthy immune system,  helps our skin and mucus membranes by protecting against bacteria and viruses and is helpful in reproduction.
  • Potassium – Helps the heart, kidneys, digestive system, muscles, and regulates flood balance and blood pressure.  Potassium has may help reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Lycopene – cancer preventing properties, heart healthy properties, protects the skin from UV rays, may be preventative against atherosclerosis and is helpful in preventing the damage of free radicals in the cells.  Healthy oils may help increase absorption of Lycopene.
  • Lutine -Zeaxanthin –  may help prevent age related Macular Degeneration and cataracts and may help prevent clogging of the arteries of the neck.

This makes tomatoes a mighty Superfood!  Enjoy!

Note: Tomatoes are often Genetically Modified, while the USDA says GMO’s are safe it is my personal feeling that there is not enough evidence either way and when in doubt it is better to be more conservative in your choice.  That said, if you are unable to find Non-GMO tomatoes please eat the tomato, it is too rich in vitamins and nutrients to pass it by.

Recipes

Bruchetta – The Pioneer Woman

Crapese Salad Skewers – The Gingham Apron

Stuffed Tomatoes – Sunny Anderson

Gazpacho – Wolfgang Puck

Sausage Meatballs with Red Gravy – Emeril  (This recipe may be adapted to make it healthier)

Classic Marinara Sauce – NY Times

And don’t forget the basic Tomato sandwich!


Fruit or vegetable? Botanically speaking, fruit.  But…under customs law they are vegetables.  To learn more visit NPR’s “When the Supreme Court Decided Fruits Were Vegetables”.

Tomatoes are part of the dangerous Night Shade family and were considered to be poisonous at one time, mainly by the British and early Americans.  Though the tomato itself is safe, the leaves are not and should not be consumed.


What is a Superfood?  A superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being – Mcmillian Dictionary.

Dr. William Sears, in his book Prime Time Health, describes Superfoods as:

  • Nutrient Dense
  • Nutrients that have proven benefits
  • Made by nature, not a factory
  • Taste good & satisfying
  • May be able to be prepared in a variety of ways
  • Contains no ingredients harmful to health

While we receive vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats from our foods, some foods have been proven to provide extra health benefits, these foods are the superfoods. They have properties that  may be anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-Alzheimer, lower highs, and raise lows in our body.

Let’s be clear, when I say superfood I do not mean magical foods that cure-all, nor do I  mean a diet consisting of one food, like the old “Grapefruit Diet”.  The truth is, that these foods work best when part of a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet full of variety and by diet I mean lifestyle eating habits, not a short-term solution.  Just eat food that rots, but eat it before it does!

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