A row of tomatoes

Loved this picture ~ when summer heat arrives we get  such great bounties of veggies (like these beautiful tomatoes!)

Not only are tomatoes one of the tastiest treats of the summer, we can enjoy them as well all year simply by using tomato pastes, sauces, and even sun dried tomatoes.  Gary Null, author of Power Foods includes tomatoes on his list of power foods due to the presence of carotenes, antioxidants with a host of health benefits.  He also stresses organic tomatoes, as the powerful carotenoid antioxidant lycopene can be up to three times higher in organic tomatoes than in conventionally grown tomatoes.

Null further emphasizes that when cooking or juicing tomatoes, be sure to use the whole tomato, including the peel, to gain the most benefits from the synergy of all the nutrients that are present.   Loaded with healthy vitamins and trace minerals, one cup of ripe, raw tomato provides 57% RDV of vitamin C, 22% RDV of vitamin A, 13% RDV of vitamin K as well as ample amounts of B vitamins, and potassium, manganese, fiber, chromium, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin E, tryptophan, and even a small amount of protein! Wow!  Makes me want to definitely include tomatoes in my daily diet.

Of course no matter how red a tomato is, if it was picked to be shipped to a faraway supermarket, then it was picked too soon. That would certainly encourage us all to purchase ours from a  local farmer’s market (or grow our own).  A recent article in the NY Times emphasized the phytonutrient called lycopene contained in the red pigment of tomatoes.   One of its known benefits is preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, thereby slowing the development of atherosclerosis.  Perhaps the drugs so commonly prescribed to people with slightly elevated cholesterol levels could be avoided simply by consuming more tomatoes (and with no side effects).

Also listed in that NY Times article were some wonderful recipes using tomatoes including Blender Tomato Soup, Brushetta with Tomato Topping,  and Pizza Without The Dough.  Go to that link and check it out.   I am going to try some of these recipes as well as include in my daily diet a supplement that contains key carotenoids in each serving.

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