Tomatoes are colorful and full of intense flavor and nutrients this time of year. For as long as I can remember, I have memories of gathering a variety of tomatoes at the end of the summer season. Sometimes directly from the farm or as I’ve gotten older, from the farmers market.
Including tomatoes in your diet can help protect against a number of health issues. Add them to sandwiches, sauces, soups, salads, juices or salsas. There are different types and sizes of tomatoes, and they can be prepared in different ways. Eat them both cooked or fresh, since different key nutrients are available with different preparation methods.
Purchase organic tomatoes whenever possible or grow them yourself or wash them well to help avoid toxins. They are usually red when mature, but tomatoes can come in an assortment of pretty colors, including yellow, orange, green and purple. I’m always drawn to heirloom tomatoes, because I see the history of tomatoes in them.
Tomatoes are a dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits. Lycopene is a polyphenol, or plant compound, that gives tomatoes their characteristic red color. They are also rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and choline. The health benefits of consuming tomatoes is impressive, so enjoy fresh organic or homegrown tomatoes often.
Feel free to try one of my favorite Easy Real Food Recipes for an open-face breakfast sandwich with fresh organic Roma tomatoes, “Soft-Cooked Egg and Sliced Tomato Breakfast Toast.”