Spotlight on Tomatoes

Summer is rapidly approaching here in Texas. Last weekend we rocked the ridiculous temps over 100, and closer to 110 with the heat index.

It was so sweltering it almost took your breath away.

With the arrival of summer there are some fruits and veggies that seem to just be a part of the season.

Tomatoes top that list.

Is there anything better than a warm, vine ripened tomato sliced with some salt and pepper? I could eat more than my share 😁

So as a nod to delicious summer food I thought the tomato would be a good one for our food spotlight post.

The 411

The tomato is from the nightshade family native to South America.

Despite botanically being a fruit, it’s generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable.

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Some nutrition facts

The water content of tomatoes is around 95%. The other 5% consists mainly of carbs and fiber.

Here are the nutrients in a small raw tomato:

  • Calories: 18
  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Sugar: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

Carbs comprise 4% of raw tomatoes, which amounts to fewer than 5 grams of carbs for a medium one.

Simple sugars,such as glucose and fructose, make up almost 70% of the carb content.

Other plant compounds

The main plant compounds in tomatoes are:

  • Lycopene. A red pigment and antioxidant, lycopene has been extensively studied for its beneficial health effects.
  • Beta carotene. An antioxidant that often gives foods a yellow or orange hue, beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in your body.
  • Naringenin. Found in tomato skin, this flavonoid has been shown to to decrease inflammation protect against various diseases in mice.
  • Chlorogenic acid. A powerful antioxidant compound, chlorogenic acid may lower blood pressure in people with elevated levels.

Studies show that tomatoes and tomato products may reduce your risk of heart disease and several cancers. This fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns.

So now that we’ve discussed how good they are for you….

How about a few recipes? Tomatoes by themselves are perfect. I also love tossing them in some olive oil and roasting with asparagus.

Cherry tomatoes are also good in my veggie scramble for breakfast.

As mentioned earlier, they also make perfect light dishes when the days get long and warm.

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By the way….I made the rustic Italian cucumber and tomato salad for dinner last night…it is definitely a keeper.

Tell me, do you have any favorite tomato recipes?

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Published by

Sassyfitnesschick

8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the fun...so adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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