Tomatoes, which are actually a fruit and not a vegetable, are loaded with all kinds of health benefits. Studies have shown tomatoes aid in preventing cancer, heart disease as well as high cholesterol. Tomatoes also have a significant amount of vitamin K and calcium. These nutrients are very important in strengthening and doing minor fixes on the bones and the bone tissue. Tomatoes also contain Vitamin A and C which act as antioxidants to neutralize hazardous free radicals in your body.
But the greatest reason to eat tomatoes is because they are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that protects your brain and fights depression-causing inflammation. Cancers such as prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx, and esophagus have all been proven to be staved off by high levels of Lycopene. And because lycopene lives in tomato skins, you’ll get more of the stuff if you throw a handful of cherry tomatoes into your next salad instead of slicing up one full-size tomato. Or enjoy them on their own with a little olive oil, which has been shown to increase lycopene absorption. And try to go organic whenever possible: Researchers at the University of California-Davis found that organic tomatoes have higher lycopene levels.
All good reasons to consume tomatoes every day! You don’t need to eat tomatoes fresh to reap the benefits. Their power is available in processed tomatoes such canned tomatoes or if you cook them yourself. Have tomatoes in your favorite pasta sauce, tossed on a nice green leafy salad, juice them or try a new recipe.
Great appetizer – always a hit. Tomato Slices with Cheese & Basil
Tomato and Asparagus – A yummy and healthy side dish
Here is one of my favorite side dishes – extra refreshing on a warm Spring or Summer day!
Cucumber Tomato Salad
2 medium tomatoes, sliced and quartered
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
4 green onions, chopped
1 pkg. stevia
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber and onions. In a small bowl, combine the stevia, salt and pepper. Whisk in the vinegar and water. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Side Note: Quick story on the history of how this fruit became a vegetable.
Botanically classified as a fruit, they are the seed-bearing portions of a flowering plant. However, in 1893, a case came before the Supreme Court of the United States relating to shipping tariffs on tomatoes. Should farmers pay fruit or vegetable rates on them? The Court came down on the side of vegetables, and so vegetables they became. (Source – Superfoods Rx)