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Tomato: Do you say Tomayto or Tomahto?

“You say tomayto I say tomahto.” Actually it really doesn’t matter how you say it, just as long as you eat it!

There is nothing better than a garden fresh tomato. In fact after you’ve tasted one fresh from the garden buying one at the grocery store gets really difficult. Everyone knows tomatoes are good for you, but not everyone is sold on the idea that tomatoes are sweet, juicy and delicious. It’s a good thing that the tomato is so versatile. That way everyone can get some into their body one way or another.

Tomatoes are believed to be native to the Americas and can be traced back to the early Aztec civilization around 700 A.D. It wasn’t until the 16th century that European countries were introduced to them after the exploration of the new world.

Today tomatoes are grown all around the world with hundreds of varieties that include different colors, textures and flavors. Whether you say tomayto or tomahto or refer to the tomato as a fruit or vegetable there is no doubt that this is a nutrient dense food should be regularly consumed.

Did you know that the tomato is now being referred to as a “Functional Food?” A functional food is a food that goes beyond just providing basic nutrition. It is a food that prevents chronic disease.

Eight Reasons Why You Should be Eating More Tomatoes

Reduce Cancer Risk: Tomatoes contain some of the highest levels of lycopene, which is responsible for the red color of the tomato. Tomatoes also contain alpha-tomatine which has the ability to cause cancer cell death, specifically in prostate cancer.

Support Strong Bones: Lycopene plays an important role in bone health as well. Lycopene removes oxidative stress from bone tissue and protects and stimulates bone building cells. Lycopene is best absorbed by our bodies when tomatoes are cooked especially in olive oil.

Fight Inflammation: Tomatoes are high in bioflavanoids and carotenoids. These are known anti-inflammatory agents. Tomatoes can reduce the chronic pain that comes from inflammation.

Digestive Booster: High fiber and high water content aid the body in eliminating toxins from the digestive system. Tomatoes also have a “filling” effect and make a great snack that helps you feel full and satisfied without adding empty calories.

Promotes Healthy Immune System: Tomatoes contain powerful immune boosting nutrients. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene. All of these nutrients improve your immune response, boost resistance to infection and encourage wound healing.

Heart Healthy: Tomatoes contain a compound called sterols found in plants that helps lower “bad” cholesterol. Tomatoes also contain niacin, folate, vitamin B6 and potassium that help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

Eye Health: Vitamin A found in tomatoes is essential for vision. Regular tomato consumption has been shown to prevent night blindness and the risk of developing macular degeneration in the eyes. Vitamin A is also important for healthy hair, skin and nails.

Helps Maintain Blood Sugar: Tomatoes contain alpha-liponic acid that helps the body convert glucose into energy as well as chromium to help regulate blood sugar levels.

A Tomato Tip:
Store tomatoes at room temperature. As the tomato continues to ripen it will develop better flavor. When they are stored in the refrigerator the ripening process is halted and damages the membranes inside the walls of the tomato causing the flavor to be diminished and a mealy texture to develop.

If you store your tomatoes in the refrigerator, try letting them sit out at room temperature for about a day before eating them. This actually starts the ripening process again and will boost the flavor of the tomato.

Try these recipes:

Watermelon Salad

Tomato Basil Dip

Tomato Basil Soup

Pizza Sauce

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

What is your favorite way to eat a tomato?

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