A powerful blend of disease-fighting nutrients
They come in all shapes and sizes, plus a variety of colors.
Juicy, sweet and plucked fresh from the vine are one of summer's greatest pleasures.
Anytime is the right time, but with ripe varieties flooding farm stands and markets, you want to load up your basket!
They come in dozens of varieties, including non-red fruits such as the dark purple, ruffled Purple Calabash and the green-and-gold-striped Green Zebra variety.
Although non-red choices taste fabulous, they contain very little lycopene and modest amounts of vitamin-C.
(They do, however, have considerable folate and niacin.)
Here's a list of some popular varieties you're likely to find at farm stands and produce markets.
We love them sliced and unadorned, or with just a dash of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
Big Beef: A big, fat, round variety that tastes almost meaty.
Brandywine: Considered a favorite among heirloom fans because its heavy, juicy flesh brims with flavor.
Currant: As tiny as its namesake, this sweet tomato comes in red or yellow.
Grape: Grown in clusters, this grape-shaped type has firm skin and juicy sweetness and is available in red or yellow-green.
Pear: This petite, pear-shaped type has a tangy flavor and comes in red, orange, or yellow.
Sweet 100: A popular cherry tomato that's prized, particularly among chefs, for its candy-like taste.
No matter how you slice them, these savory fruits add an irresistible tang to salads, sauces, salsas, and more.
They're also packed with vitamin-C, potassium, fiber, and lycopene, the pigment that colors them red and fights disease.
Traditionally, people have viewed lycopene as a "male nutrient" that protects against prostate cancer.
Slice open a tomato and you'll notice the red veggie has multiple chambers that resemble the structure of a heart.
Studies have found that because of the lycopene in tomatoes, there is a reduced risk for heart disease in men and women who eat them.
And, if you mix them with a little fat, like olive oil or avocado, it will boost your body's lycopene absorption nearly tenfold.
A study of almost 40,000 women at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that those who ate more than seven servings of tomato-based food products a week cut their risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent.
Tomatoes and products such as ketchup and salsa may also protect against lung and stomach cancers as well as cataracts in women and men.
Since the health benefits above may be derived from other compounds in the tomato, not just lycopene, it's best to eat the whole fruit versus taking a singular supplement.
Extra Disease Defense
Tomatoes boast all four major carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene) plus three potent antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamin-E, and vitamin-C) that may help fight cancer and heart disease.
You’ll absorb more of these protective chemicals if you eat them with olive oil.
The EVOO is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and slows digestion so you can soak up more of the tomatoes protective chemicals.
Strategy: Mix a little olive oil in your next tomato based sauce.
You’ll get a bigger phytochemical punch with them cooked, just leave the skin on to receive maximum benefit.
Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed form, so it contains the most beneficial compounds.
Just remember to store it away from heat and light to prevent it from going rancid.
Below are just a couple of our favorite recipes.
Try 'em, we hope you'll love 'em.
Lime-Marinated Chicken with Salsa
This mildly spiced low-carb meal makes the most of the season's freshest produce.
Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Marinating Time: 1 hour.
Cooking Time: 13-15 minutes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves.
3 Tbs. lime juice + 4 lime wedges for garnish.
2 Tbs. olive oil.
1-1/4 tsp. ground cumin.
1/4 tsp. sea salt.
3 med. tomatoes, chopped (variety of your choice).
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped.
1/2 c. chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia.
1/2 c. chopped cilantro + 4 sprigs for garnish.
1 s. jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (wear plastic gloves when handling, trust me).
1. Put chicken into large zip-top plastic bag.
2. In small bowl, whisk lime juice, oil, cumin, and salt.
Transfer 2 tablespoons of lime marinade to medium glass bowl for the salsa, and cover with plastic wrap.
Pour remaining marinade over chicken and squeeze bag to coat.
Let chicken marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour.
3. Coat grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray.
Preheat grill (to medium-high) or broiler.
Grill or broil marinated chicken 6 1/2 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160F and juices run clear.
4. Now while the chicken cooks, add tomatoes, avocado, onion, cilantro, and pepper to bowl with reserved marinade.
Gently toss to mix, and season to taste with salt.
5. To serve, place chicken onto 4 plates and top each with 3/4 c. salsa.
Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.
Makes 4 servings.
35 g. Protein,
10 g. Carbohydrates,
13 g. Fat,
2 g. Saturated Fat,
80 mg. Cholesterol,
3 g. Fiber,
250 mg. Sodium.
Tarragon Crab-Stuffed Tomatoes
Crabmeat is rich in the mineral zinc, an immune-system ally.
Prep Time: 25 minutes.
4 med. sized tomatoes.
1/2 lb. fresh crabmeat (or substitute imitation crab, also known as surimi).
1/4 c. chopped yellow bell pepper.
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced.
1/3 c. chopped fennel.
1/4 c. reduced-fat (low fat, no fat) mayonnaise.
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon.
1 Tbs. lemon juice.
1/2 tsp. sea salt.
1/4 tsp. black pepper.
1. Cut 1/2" slice off stem end of each of your red fruits (vegetables).
With small spoon, gently scoop out and discard pulp to create a hollow shell.
Turn your hollowed out, red fruits upside down on large plate lined with 2 paper towels and let drain approximately 25 minutes.
2. Combine crabmeat with bell pepper, scallions, fennel, mayonnaise, tarragon, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper in medium bowl.
Stir to combine.
Spoon crab mixture into tomato shells and serve.
Makes 4 Servings.
13 g. Protein,
9 g. Carbohydrates,
6 g. Fat,
1 g. Saturated Fat,
60 mg. Cholesterol,
2 g. Fiber,
590 mg. Sodium
On a final note, the way I like to get a daily dose of these powerful nutrients, is that I have a glass of the red nectar each day, whenever I get an urge for a snack.
It's filling and takes the hunger edge off.
And....it's very low in calories and fat.
If you have plain jane juice, I like to spice it up with a little Worcester or Tabasco.
But, I usually have several bottles of V-Go at the ready.
It gives me the necessary giddy-up when I gotta go.Tweet
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