It’s that wonderful time of year when the tomatoes are bursting from our garden. I look forward to this season all year-long because nothing tastes as good as a freshly picked, perfectly ripe summer tomato.
It’s pretty rare that I bother with a tomato in the winter – they are truly the perfect example of why you should eat in season as often as possible – those January tomatoes are typically mealy and flavorless – nice as they look, they are always disappointing. Those tomatoes are artificially ripened by exposure to ethylene gas – so this is one of those rare cases where I’ll pick canned over fresh once the tomato season is over.
But for now, it’s in full swing!
Top 5 Reasons I LOVE Tomatoes:
- High in Lycopene. Lycopene is a flavonoid antioxidant that is terrific for your skin – in fact, it may help protect cells from UV rays! Interestingly, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene. Interestingly enough, there is actually more lycopene in cooked versus raw tomatoes, so all the more reason to make some of those delicious summer tomatoes into sauce for the up-coming winter!
- Great for your digestive system. Tomatoes have a high water count as well as a high fiber count. So adding tomatoes to your diet helps your digestive system run smoothly and efficiently.
- They are better with fat. Healthy fat that is. Enjoying tomatoes with a little bit of healthy fat (think avocados or extra virgin olive oil) makes it easier for your body to absorb the phytochemicals present. Of course it also makes them even tastier, right?
- Low in calories, high in vitamins. Tomatoes have around 20 calories per 100 g, they are low in fat, and low in cholesterol. Plus, they are high in Vitamins A and C, and high in potassium.
- The MANY varieties. Aside from all the health benefits, one of the fun things about tomatoes is all the varieties available. Red, yellow, orange, cherry, grape, Roma, etc. There are so many different versions that you can enjoy them daily and never get bored – plus tomatoes are incredibly versatile – appetizers, salads, main dishes, sauces, soups, etc. – so many ways to indulge!
Tomato Tip: storing tomatoes at a temperature below 55 degrees (i.e. your fridge) makes them mealy and destroys the flavor.