What’s So Great About Tomatoes?

What’s So Great About Tomatoes?

What’s So Great About Tomatoes?

I have never, not ever, met a child who will eat a tomato.  Except for Esme, that is. I don’t know how Ceri did it. I  suspect she introduced Esme to tomatoes around this time of year, when they are their sublime selves.
Why do tomatoes almost always make top ten super food lists?  Lycopene. Lycopene is a natural pigment that acts as a powerful antioxidant.  It’s been shown to protect against a long list of cancers, most notably prostate and  breast. But the tomato’s virtues don’t end with cancer fighting lycopene:  they’re also a great source of vitamins  C, E, and fibre – all important to a healthy heart.


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If your child is anything like mine and runs from the mere suggestion of a tomato, not to worry:  tomato sauce and even ketchup contain all the cancer-fighting properties of fresh tomatoes and then some. Natalie Brown, a Nutritionist who works with families (www.whiterockdietitian.com), tells me that studies have shown that cooked tomatoes are much better for you than raw tomatoes, as lycopene absorption increases when tomatoes are cooked.

Preparation

Lycopene is fat soluble, meaning our bodies absorb nutrients more efficiently when consumed with fat-rich foods. Brown suggests to serve tomatoes with good fats, like extra virgin olive oil in order to get maximum benefit.

Be Warned: If you are eating tinned tomatoes be mindful of the salt content. Many brands (including organics) contain a lot of salt. I picked up a tin the other day with 250 mg salt in a 125 ml serving – that’s 1500 mg of salt in one tine! Choose brands with no salt or marked as low sodium.

Tomato Recipes

Sacha and Lola’s Simple Pasta:

http://www.sweetpotatochronicles.com/2010/06/guest-bloggers-sacha-and-lolas-simplest.html

Natalee and Casey’s Ravioli:

http://www.sweetpotatochronicles.com/2010/06/guest-bloggers-natalee-and-casey-make.html

Shakshuka!:

http://www.sweetpotatochronicles.com/2010/06/shakshuka.html




By Heidi Pyper

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