It’s late summer and my garden is rewarding me with an abundance of plump and savory tomatoes. Some of my favorites are grape, cherry, plum, campari, and beefsteak. I love many of the “heirloom” varieties, too. These “breed true” varieties are not hybridized. They can come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. A few of my favorites are Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Lollypop, Big Rainbow, Striped German and Chocolate Cherry. It’s estimated that the average person eats more than 18 pounds of tomatoes per year. (That being said the majority of that consumption comes from ketchup and pizza sauce.) Now is the season to fill up on this incredibly healthy and delicious fruit. Tomatoes pack a powerful punch when it comes to vitamins and minerals. One cup of ripe, raw tomatoes is a perfect source for:
- Vitamins C ~ Helps enhance the body’s immune system and protect cells and their DNA from damage and mutation with its antioxidant properties.
- Vitamin K ~ Vitamin K which has been shown to play an important roll increasing bone mass and improving bone health. It also aids in repairing damaged skin cells.
- Carotenoids (alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene) ~ Carotenoids help reduce inflammation, which can reduce the rate of cancer and heart disease.
- Lycopene ~ Makes the skin less sensitive to UV light. Damage from UV light causes fine lines and wrinkles.
- Beta- carotene ~ Protects the skin against sun damage.
- Folate ~ Helps protect pregnant women from neural tube defects in their unborn babies.
- Magnesium ~ Makes muscles more flexible and mineralizes the teeth.
- Biotin ~ Strengthens hair and nails.