Posted by: Samantha in Nutrition on September 14th, 2016






I was leaving my girlfriend’s house having just picked up something and she sent me off with a sandwich bag of pear and cherry tomatoes from a friend’s garden.  By the time I arrived home the bag only had a few remaining tomatoes—I’d eaten most of them during the drive!  Home grown tomatoes, yum!  Late summer early fall tomatoes come into season and if you grow your own or are fortunate enough to have family and friends that grow them and share them with you oh what a delicious treat!  It made me ponder on the wonderful goodness of this fruit!  They come in so many different shapes, sizes and varieties!  There are the snack size tomatoes like cherry and pear sizes.  There are tomatoes that are great for cooking like roma and plum tomatoes.  There’s the beefsteak and celebrity tomatoes that work lovely on sandwiches!  There are literally hundreds of varieties!  They come in different colors too, ranging from green, yellow to orange to deep red and even a dark purple color. They’re also low in calories—about 32 calories in a cup of chopped tomatoes—and a very low glycemic index number to boot.

Besides being utterly delicious tomatoes are good for you!  They are one of the best sources of lycopene you can find!  Lycopene is a phytochemical and part of the carotenoid family.  It’s a powerful antioxidant that may protect cells from damage.  There’s a great deal of research interest on Lycopene’s effect, if any, on preventing cancer.  Early research has demonstrated Lycopene’s ability to reduce prostate tumors.  Other research with Lycopene is in the areas of bone health in slowing down osteoporosis, cataracts and macular degeneration because of Lycopene’s natural UV protection, heart disease, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  It’s Lycopene’s strong antioxidant properties that make it such a great interest in research of disease.

Interestingly, processing tomatoes with heat (during canning, making paste, or spaghetti sauce) does not adversely affect Lycopene.  In fact, it makes the Lycopene even more readily absorbed.  So, slice them, dice them, chop them in a salad or put them on your sandwich!  Cook them, can them or sauce them!  I just finished eating a whole celebrity one over the sink!  Hmmm….tomato love!

Yours in health,

Samantha L. Madsen, MS, CSCS
“Train Smart, Eat Healthy, Sleep Well, Supplement Wisely”

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