Tomatoes are at their seasonal and nutritional peak during the summer months. Including tomatoes and tomato-based products in your diet on a regular basis have been linked to improved skin health and a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. We usually think of tomatoes as being red and medium sized, but they can range in a variety of colours and sizes.
Tomatoes are a great source of several vitamins and minerals, consisting of:
· Vitamin C which is an essential nutrient and antioxidant. One medium-sized tomato contains around 28% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
· Potassium is an essential mineral and is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention.
· Vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting and bone health.
· Folate (vitamin B9) is important for normal tissue growth and cell function.
Tomatoes also contain antioxidants such as lycopene, beta carotene, naringenin and chlorogenic acid. From this group, lycopene is the most abundant carotenoid which is found in ripened tomatoes and one of the most studied antioxidants. Lycopene has received a lot of attention in recent years because of its strong antioxidant properties.
Lycopene is found in the highest concentrations in the skin of the tomato. Generally, the redder the tomato, the higher the levels of lycopene. Cooked tomatoes contain higher concentrations of lycopene. Products such as ketchup tomato juice, tomato paste, and tomato sauce are rich dietary sources of lycopene. It is important to check labels and ensure that these products do not contain high amounts of sugar.
For a great ideas on how to enjoy fresh, in season tomatoes click here - https://www.foodnetwork.ca/in-season/photos/fresh-tomato-recipes/#!Ina-Garten-tomato-and-goat-cheese-tart-recipe
Denise Boyd, BSc, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RNH) with a specialization in Cognitive and Immune Support.