My first experience with tomatoes was less than grand. My momma had one tomato plant in her tiny garden space when I was very little. On this plant was one lowly, green tomato waiting to ripen.
My mom was very excited for this little fruit to turn red so she could pick it and have fresh tomato. She told me green tomatoes were bad so that I would wait for it to turn red.
One day my mom went out to check on her tomato and it was gone. Very unhappy, she interrogated each of my four older brothers. Who would dare to pick her precious tomato?
All my brothers looked baffled. "We didn't do it," they said. This made her even angrier. Surely someone was not telling the truth.
Then I took her hand and led her to the garbage can outside. I lifted the lid. There, at the bottom, was Mom's green tomato. "Green, bad!" I told her.
Poor Mom. She had told me that green was bad, but failed to say we needed to wait for it to turn red.
Don't worry... My mistake was graciously overlooked and, in her lifetime, Mom had many more home grown, ripe tomatoes.
Now, I'm a firm believer in letting food be my medicine and it turns out that those little jewels my mom waited for to ripen each subsequent year are actually a powerhouse super food packed with health.
Eating fresh tomatoes is doing yourself a favor!
Don't like tomatoes? You might change your mind after reading these ten tomato tidbits: (Disclaimer: I'm a farmer/health nut not a doctor or nutritionist. I just know how real food makes me feel.)
- 1. Tomatoes are an incredible cancer fighter; reducing your risk of cancer because of the phyto chemicals called carotenoids contained in the skin. The deeper the color of the skin, the deeper the amount of carotenoids. Lutein, Alpha and Beta Carotenes, and Lycopene (carotenoids) contain antioxidants that protect cells from damage. To get the most benefit, eat your tomatoes cooked.
- 2. Tomatoes also fight imflammation. They rank #12 on the list of anti-inflammatory foods. The fruits contain flavonoids called Quercentin and Kaempferol that are natural antihistamines. The carotenoid Lycopene also helps with inflammation.
- 3. Tomatoes can lessen depression. The Folate (a type of Vitamin B) in tomatoes helps to facilitate your body's production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine; all mood boosting chemicals. I'm all about that!
- 4. The alpha-lopoic acid in tomatoes can help stabilize blood sugar. Tomatoes have a glycemic index of 30. Anything under 55 is considered low and means that sugars are released throughout the body in a slow and steady rate instead of a large spike.
- 5. Tomatoes fight heart disease and can help keep blood pressure under control. Also related, they can reduce your risk of stroke and provide muscle relaxant properties. This is due, in part, to the potassium and Vitamin C, that tomatoes contain, and the jelly around tomato seeds that contain salicytates, anti-clotting agents. So to get the best heart benefits, eat those seeds!
- 6. Eating tomatoes give your hair, skin and teeth a healthy boost from the Vitamin A and collagen they contain. One cup of chopped tomatoes equals over 50% the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A for women.
- 7. Pregnant or trying to get pregnant: The Folate in tomatoes helps tissue and cell growth. Folate is responsible for helping produce DNA, help cells divide and is important for proper fetal development.
- 8. Tomatoes strengthen your bones! The Vitamins K and A as well as Lycopene reduce the specific inflammation that leads to the breakdown of bones.
- 9. Want to keep your eyes in tiptop shape? Tomato carotenoids and Viamin A reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
- 10 Finally, if you suffer from exercise induced asthma, an Australian study has come out that suggest that Vitamin A and Lycopene can help reduce attacks.
I mean, Wow! All that from a tomato! Who knew?!
Now, for the best news of all! Tomato season has just started. You can stop by your local farm stand or farmer's market and take advantage of all the fresh off the vine fruit. Pick up a few for eating now and a bunch for preserving for later.
Here is a fresh tomato salsa recipe to get you started:
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
1 clove peeled, chopped garlic
1/2 onion, diced
6 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Mix together, let sit for 5 minutes for the flavors to co-mingle, add more lime juice and salt to taste.
Happy, healthy eating!
So whadda ya think?
Are you affected by one of those health issues above or maybe one that isn't mentioned?
I'd love for you to scroll down to the comment section below and tell me your biggest health issue and if you think food can heal your body. Let's get a conversation started. I'd really like to hear from you!
For now, Bloom and Grow,