The old saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." But did you know that one serving of a tomato-based food per day can also have a beneficial impact on your health?
The tomato fruit (otherwise known as a vegetable) is a nutrient-dense superfood full of vitamins and minerals that can help reduce risk of heart disease and other conditions when consumed daily. They're also at peak freshness and flavor during the summer months, so now is a great time to find a range of delicious tomato varieties at your local grocery store or farmers market.
Here are some of the top health benefits tomatoes provide.
- Tomatoes contain all four carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. Carotenoids offer individual and collective health benefits. For instance, lycopene has been linked to lowered prostate cancer risk.
- A tomato-rich diet may help reduce pancreatic cancer risk, according to a study by the University of Montreal.
- Tomatoes are full of high-powered antioxidants, which, among other benefits, can help protect eyes against damage that can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- One cup of tomato juice contains more than 500 milligrams of potassium, a mineral most people don't get enough of.
- Tomatoes are a key element of the Mediterranean Diet, which has proven heart health benefits.
- Alleviate constipation by consuming tomatoes, which are high in fiber and water content.
- Tomatoes contain choline, a nutrient that assists sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. It can also help the body maintain cellular membrane structure, transmit nerve impulses, absorb fat and fight chronic inflammation.
Here's a great tomato recipe to try this summer:
Simple Tomato and Herb Salad
- 2 1/2 pounds (about 6 medium) garden fresh or vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings
- 2 shallots, sliced thin
- 6 tablespoons light or reduced fat Italian-style salad dressing
- 1/3 cup minced mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley and tarragon
Core tomatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange tomato slices in a deep 9x11-inch serving dish, and scatter onion and shallots over them. Drizzle bottled salad dressing evenly over the salad. Cover the dish and chill for 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle herb mixture over the top and serve.
Reach out to a registered dietitian at Goshen Health Nutrition Therapy for more information on the perks of adding tomatoes to your diet. Don't forget to check out other key ingredients to get more healthy eating inspiration.