These days there’s a ton of tomatoes, fresh herbs and chili peppers growing in the garden. And since I have been trying really hard to buy and cook with fresh local produce I have been using tomatoes in a lot of recipes lately.
Look at these beauties aren’t they gorgeous? I can just eat an entire bowl of them! They are as sweet as candy, with the added health benefits of course.
Here are 9 reasons to incorporate tomatoes in your every day recipes.
#1: Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. These carotenoids may have individual benefits, but also have synergy as a group (that is, they interact to provide health benefits). In particular, tomatoes contain awesome amounts of lycopene,thought to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids.
#2: Tomatoes and broccoli have synergy that may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.One study showed that prostate tumors grew much more slowly in rats that were fed both tomato and broccoli powder than in rats given lycopene as a supplement or fed just the broccoli or tomato powder alone.
#3: A diet rich in tomato-based products may help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study from The University of Montreal. The researchers found that lycopene (provided mainly by tomatoes) was linked to a 31% reduction in pancreatice cancer risk between men with the highest and lowest intakes of this carotenoid
#4: Tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene (which has vitamin A activity in the body), vitamin E, and vitamin C. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report, What We Eat in America, noted that a third or us get too little vitamin C and almost half get too little vitamin A
#5: Tomatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral most of us don’t get enough of. A cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams.
#6: And this is particularly relevant with this recipeWhen tomatoes are eaten along with healthier fats, like avocado or olive oil, the body’s absorption of the carotenoid phytochemicals in tomatoes can increase by two to 15 times, according to a study from Ohio State University.
#7: Tomatoes are a big part of the famously healthy Mediterranean diet. Many Mediterranean dishes and recipes call for tomatoes or tomato paste or sauce. Some recent studies, including one from The University of Athens Medical School, have found that people who most closely follow the Mediterranean diet have lower death rates from heart disease and cancer. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, who followed more than 39,000 women for seven years, found that consumption of oil- and tomato-based products — particularly tomato and pizza sauce — was associated with cardiovascular benefits.
#8: When breastfeeding moms eat tomato products, it increases the concentration of lycopene their breast milk. In this case, cooked is best. The researchers also found that eating tomato products like tomato sauce increased concentrations of lycopene in breast milk more than eating fresh tomatoes did.
#9: Tomato peels contribute a high concentration of the carotenoids found in tomatoes. The amount of carotenoids absorbed by human intestinal cells was much greater with tomato paste enriched with tomato peels compared to tomato paste without peels, according to a study from Marseille, France. The tomato skin also holds most of the flavonols (another family of phytochemicals that includes quercetin and kaempferol) as well. So to maximize the health propertiesof tomatoes, don’t peel them if you can help it!
What better way to display their sweetness and juiciness than making a Gazpacho?!
I remember my grand-mother making gazpacho in the summer time and it was alway my favourite soup. So refreshing and full of flavours!
Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold, usually with a tomato base, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and neighbouring Portugal, particularly during the hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.
Traditional Gazpacho is not made with avocado, but I had one handy and desperately wanted to try adding it to this recipe. I just happen to prefer a creamy soup over a broth-y one and just loooove the texture and richness of avocado so this soup was right up my alley. Very light and cleansing yet super satisfying. I had this as a light afternoon meal to tie me over till dinner one night, then had it for lunch with a side of kale salad.
Sources: wikipedia.com and webmd.com