In my mind, there are few things worth eating that are better than Jersey tomatoes in the summertime. I'm not talking about the ones grown in the greenhouses and shipped all over the place and taste like...well, nothing. The ones I love are a deep red and smell like tomatoes. They're juicy and delicious and so very good for you. I decided to dedicate this post to extolling the virtues of these deep red beauties.
So why should you eat Jersey tomatoes? Here are a few reasons to eat tomatoes but the ones grown in the beautiful garden state are undeniably the best in the world.
- tomatoes are a great source of fiber, providing about 1.5 grams per medium-sized tomato. Most of the fiber is insoluble which helps to bulk up your stool and prevent constipation. It also helps to speed digestion which keeps food from sitting in your digestive tract too long
- tomatoes are made up mostly of water (87%) which makes them a low carb food
- tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamins C - is an essential nutrient and anti-oxidant
- Vitamin K1 - is important for blood clotting and bone health
- Vitamin B9 - also known as folate, is essential for normal tissue growth and cell function
- potassium - is essential for blood pressure control and prevention of heart disease
- tomatoes are a great source of other nutrients also such as:
- lycopene - is a red pigment and antioxidant and seems to be more prevalent in tomato products that have been processed like tomato paste or sauce. It's still preferable to get the lycopene from fresh rather than canned tomatoes and it should be consumed with some type of healthy fat (think avocado and tomato, the perfect union) for better absorption
- beta-carotene - an antioxidant that gives a foods their orange or yellow color and converts to Vitamin A in the body
- naringenin - this is found mostly in the tomato skin and has been found to decrease inflammation and certain diseases in mice
- chlorogenic acid - this is a powerful antioxidant and can possibly help to control high blood pressure in those who suffer from it
There are other health benefits gained from eating tomatoes. Two of my chart toppers are on this list.
- heart health
- a study of middle-aged male patients (probably the only ones studied for this issue) who suffered from heart attack and stroke were found to be low in lycopene and beta-carotene
- evidence is mounting to suggest that supplementing with lycopene can help to lower bad cholesterol levels (LDLs)
- studies of tomato products show that they may provide benefits of lowering inflammatory markers and indicators of oxidative stress, hence the antioxidant values mentioned previously
- there is also evidence of tomato products adding protective effect on the inner lining of the blood vessels and a decrease in dangerous blood clotting
- cancer prevention
- observational studies have shown a link between the consumption of tomato products and a decreased risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancers
- a study of women indicated that a high level of carotenoids (lycopene) reduced the risk of breast cancer
- skin health
- tomato based foods and other plant compounds may protect against sunburn
Tomatoes that are grown in the summer and are allowed to ripen naturally instead of being exposed to the artificial ripening process using ethylene gas will be far tastier than the pale, tasteless tomatoes we get in the winter time. if you do buy tomatoes before they have been able to ripen, wrap them in newspaper and leave them on the kitchen counter for a few days, being sure to check them frequently for ripeness.
Tomatoes that are locally grown, even if they aren't from New Jersey, are likely to be tastier and contain many more nutrients than those that have made their way all over the globe before they've had the chance to fully develop. This season is short-lived so go out and get yourself some delicious, local tomatoes. You will LOVE them!
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.