Got Tomatoes?

Got Tomatoes?

Eating fruits and vegetables in season is an amazing experience!  You should try it if you haven’t.  And with North Carolina’s long growing season, we often get to enjoy the fruits of the land for longer periods of time than some other states and regions.  It seems that recently, there’s been an abundance of tomatoes.  And, it’s no wonder why with all of the varieties and health benefits of tomatoes.  Check out all the amazing health punches that tomatoes pack!

Tomatoes are low in calories; they hold just 18 calories per 100 g. They are also very low in fat content and have zero cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, they are an excellent source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Thus, dieticians and nutritionists often recommend them in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction diet programs.  Weight Watchers call them “filling foods” in that they fill you up quickly without heaping on the calories.

Tomatoes make your skin look great!  They are rich in beta-carotene, which helps prevent skin damage caused by the sun.  Lycopene also makes the skin less sensitive to the ultraviolet rays given off by the sun.  These are the same rays that cause lines and wrinkles.  Bring on the tomatoes!

Tomatoes build strong bones.  Maybe this is one you haven’t heard before, but the vitamin K and calcium found in tomatoes help to strengthen our bones.  They also play a crucial role in repairing bones when they become damaged due to injury.  The same lycopene that’s good for our skin is also good for bones.  It increases our bone density.  This is incredibly important for women who are in need of strong bones to ward off osteoporosis.

Tomatoes help kick cancer!  Surprise!  It’s the lycopene again…  Lycopene has been shown to reduce the risk of several cancers, including prostate, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer. The antioxidants in tomatoes (vitamins A and C) also fight free radicals which can cause cell damage leading to certain types of cancer.

Tomatoes help keep your blood sugar in balance.  With the cases of Type 2 Diabetes on the rise, this is an extremely important factor to consider when choosing fruits and vegetables for our diets.  Tomatoes can help regulate our sugar levels due to the amount of chromium they provide us.

Tomatoes can help improve your vision.  And, all this time, you thought it was just the carrots that helped your eye sight.  Rich in vitamin A, tomatoes can help improve vision as well as prevent night blindness.  There have even been recent findings that suggest those who consume a diet with a steady amount of tomatoes in it can help prevent macular degeneration, which is very serious and irreversible.

Tomatoes make your hair look better.  With the help of vitamin A, tomatoes can add shine and strength to your tresses.  Sorry though, they are NOT much help for thinning hair!

Tomatoes prevent kidney stones and gallstones.  Studies have shown that this prevention is particularly true for those who consume tomatoes without the seeds.

Tomatoes can help reduce your chronic pain.  Millions of people suffer with chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain. Tomatoes are high in bioflavonoids and carotenoids, which are known anti-inflammatory agents. Most often prescription drugs that are given for pain are actually anti-inflammatory drugs.

With all of those health benefits packed into one little fruit, there’s no doubt that we need to up our tomato intake on a regular basis.. The problem is getting creative to get more of them in your diet, because some of us just aren’t more creative than topping our salads and sandwiches with tomatoes.  But, we’ve got you covered!  Click here for some fun and easy recipes including a heavy dose of tomatoes! (Promise — no tomatoes in your fruit salad.)