Whether you buy your tomatoes at the farmstand, the market or grow your own, here are a few things you should know...
Tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium and:
But, did you know tomatoes could help you to burn fat? Studies are showing that because tomatoes are inflammation-fighting foods, they make your weight loss hormones, such as leptin, work properly allowing you to lose weight. Leptin plays an important role in appetite control, metabolism and weight loss. It is your body's natural weight control mechanism.
Researchers state that there are approximately 30,000 different compounds in tomatoes which are not identified yet. Thirty thousand!! What researcher do know is tomatoes contain important anti-inflammatory nutrients called carotenoids and bioflavonoids. One important carotenoid is beta-carotene, an orange pigment also found in carrots and sweet potoatoes, that is an important antioxidant that can help to protect against damage from sunlight. Your body also converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Lycopene, another carotenoid, gives the tomato their red color. Studies show lycopene has anti-cancer effects as well as two new compounds found in tomatoes, phytoene and phytofluene, two more cancer fighting compounds.
Studies indicate that tomato consumption is associated with reduced risk of:
- ovarian cancer, especially in premenopausal women
- prostate cancer
- digestive tract cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum)
- cardiovascular disease
- asthma and chronic lung disease
Now I know studies tell us to eat our vegetables raw whenever we can. The reason for that is when vegetables are cooked, some of the vitamins are lost. However, with tomatoes it's just the opposite. The absorption of carotenoids and flavonoids from tomatoes is greater from cooked tomatoes than from eating them raw. Cooking breaks down the tomato cell and makes the carotenoids more available.
One other bit of information which probably won't surprise you...compared to conventionally grown tomatoes, organic tomatoes have a higher content of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
There are a thousand different ways to get more tomatoes into your diet. For instance, last night I made a marinara sauce...chopped up onions, carrots and celery...cooked them for a few minutes...added frozen tomatoes from my garden, (use crushed, diced, whole or all three from a can), then added spices, i.e., Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, whatever you like, and cooked for a couple of hours. I then took zucchini and using a peeler, made "ribbons" which looked like fettuccine noodles, and sauteed them in a small amount of water. Drained them, and put the marinara sauce over the top....DELICIOUS.
Today, I will use the same marinara sauce and saute some kale with onions, garlic, and mushrooms, add the marinara sauce to it with some chickpeas, make a big green salad....WA LA, dinner is done!!