5 Benefits of Tomatoes and 10 Easy Recipe Ideas
Lately, I have been obsessed with the current fruit or veggie that’s super fresh and at its peak. Last week it was watermelon (ok, I’m still super into that too!) but this week I am all over that debatable “is it a fruit or a vegetable”? … tomatoes!
It’s the beginning of Fall and tomatoes are in season full force. These bright red, sunshine yellow, pink, deep brick red and light green juicy produce are so sweet and fresh this time of year, it’s not so hard to realize that they are in fact, a fruit! Tomato heirloom salads are on so many menus at restaurants and I even just ordered one last night! Yesterday for lunch I cut up a big fresh tomato from my CSA and put it in my kale salad. The night before I topped veggie Portobello burgers with thick slices of juicy tomatoes from my parents’ garden. Right now, I’m loving them fresh and unadulterated but below I share some other ideas!
These colorful nutritional powerhouses are the affordable ‘superfood!’ Here’s why:
5 Health Benefits of Eating Tomatoes:
1. High in Antioxidants! - High in Vitamins A & C means it’s loaded with antioxidants which helps fight free radicals (that can lead to inflammation and illnesses). Also boosts immunity! Best when eaten raw.
2. Cancer & Heart Disease Fighter! - Besides providing 2 grams of protein and fiber, it’s also a good source of lycopene and beta-carotene and helps fight cancer (especially colon & prostrate) and heart disease. Opposite of most veggies and fruit, the lycopene is easiest to absorb and therefore more beneficial when cooked.
3. Low-Calorie - It’s a low-calorie food so it can help with weight loss. A whole medium tomato has only 22 calories. Best when eaten with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
4. Anti-aging: Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is known to be anti-aging. Lycopene helps protect the skin from UV damage. Best when applied directly to the face! (Yes, the redness will fade.) Good for your bones too! High in Vitamins K & A, they prevent osteoporosis and maintain healthy skin, hair, eyes and strong bones and teeth!
5. Very versatile - There are so many fun ways to enjoy tomatoes. Here are 10 ways to serve them:
Sauce – fresh pomodoro to top pasta or marinara for meatballs, lasagna or baked ziti.
Ratatouille – My Mom does this with her home grown eggplants and tomatoes!
Brushcetta – Who doesn’t love this appetizer?
Salsa – I bet you could get all the ingredients for this in one stop at your local farmers market!
Watermelon, Caprese or Greek Salads – They are the new addition to my watermelon salad but if you eat cheese/dairy…toss some with olive oil, fresh herbs (like basil), fresh mozzarella or feta which would give it a Mediterranean kick!
Gazpacho or Tomato soup – Enjoy it cool or hot!
Stuffed Tomatoes – Use large ones for an entrée and small ones for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres.
Pizza – Add fresh chopped tomatoes (and fresh basil!) and no one will know you made it with store bought crust.
Roasted – Sprinkle sea salt & fresh pepper, pop in the oven and you’ll have a great side dish, or chop them up to put in your whole grain dish (like a Quinoa Pasta Salad) which adds some color and a juicy bite.
Juice or Bloody Mary – Either way, you’ll get a good amount of your daily vitamins.