I have been “big” on tomatoes the past month; every day someone I know brings me freshly harvested tomatoes! Whether you grow your own or pick up some at a local farm stand, tomatoes are an amazingly nutritious food choice. And when you choose fresh, seasonal produce, you get a higher dose of nutrients that the fruit or veggie supplies.
Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has been proven to boost your immune system and helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Lycopene also protects your eyes—studies suggest that it may prevent or delay cataracts. Additionally, lycopene has been shown to help prevent cognitive decline and protect your bones. Pretty amazing, right?
And that’s not all, lycopene can also help protect you against sunburns!
Tomatoes are also loaded with vitamin C, also an antioxidant. Tomatoes have potassium too, which is perfect for helping to keep your blood pressure in check.
Try Heirloom Tomatoes
Step out of your comfort zone and give heirloom tomatoes a try. Several farms in the CNY area grow heirloom tomatoes. Sun golds are my favorite—they are small like grape tomatoes except they are a golden orange color; they are juicy and sweeter than traditional tomatoes. Keep in mind that the pigment of a vegetable is associated with the nutrients it contains. Eat as many colors as you can when it comes to fruits and veggies. The more colors you consume, the more nutrients you get!
I use tomatoes in every meal. Chop them up and add them into your breakfast omelets. Add them to your sandwiches at lunch. I love a good tuna fish sandwich on whole grain bread with a couple slices of fresh local tomato, and romaine lettuce. Of course, you can add them to any salad! Below is a recipe for a salad where the tomato is the super star! And it’s a quick and easy side choice.
Fall is on it’s way so I am going to try canning some of these tomatoes so I can preserve these amazing fresh, local tomatoes all year long!