Sweet, Juicy Tomatoes – a Tasty Health Food

Tomatoes not only taste good but they are also healthy to eat.

Research suggests that the combination of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular/heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prostate cancer. Tomatoes are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamins C, A, E, B6 & K
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Lycopene
  • Fiber

Eating tomatoes helps to build strong bones. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.  The lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which helps to fight osteoporosis.  (Lycopene can be concentrated by cooking/processing.  Get much more lycopene by eating about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce every day.) 

Tomatoes’ antioxidants (lycopene and vitamins A & C) fight the free radicals which can cause cell damage.  The vitamin A in tomatoes works to improve vision and helps prevent night blindness.  Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration (a serious eye condition).  They can even make your skin and hair look better.

They are also a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.  So, eating tomatoes can keep your blood sugar in balance.

If mild to moderate chronic pain is an issue (such as from arthritis or back pain), tomatoes in your diet can help reduce the discomfort.   Tomatoes are high in bioflavonoids and carotenoids, which are known anti-inflammatory agents.  Chronic pain often involves chronic inflammation, so attacking the inflammation is a good way to fight this pain.

Build lots of tomatoes into your everyday eating to lose weight.  Because tomatoes contain copious of water and ~ 2 grams of fiber, they are one of those foods that will ‘fill you up’.  They have almost no fat, a low 22 calories and contain 1 gram of protein and about 4.0 grams of carbohydrates.  They make a great snack and can be used to “bulk up” salads, casseroles, sandwiches and other meals.

Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches; Chop tomatoes in salad; Use marinara or tomato sauces on pasta instead of creamy sauces; Drink tomato juice or vegetable juice made from tomatoes (I could have had a V-8); Top scrambled eggs with chopped tomatoes or add them to a breakfast taco; Eat tomatoes as a mid-afternoon snack; Make a tomato sandwich; Add canned or stewed tomatoes to soups and stews; Serve stewed tomatoes over a baked potato; Make salsa with lots of fresh tomato; Put salsa on meats, fish, and eggs.

Need some ideas to incorporate more tomatoes into your diet?  Click on the Nutrition tab and select the recipes section for some of our healthy tomato dishes.

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