Tomatoes are a well-known food, full of flavor! With over a thousand varieties, tomatoes are versatile and interesting. The wide variety means all different colors, shapes and sizes. Currently, the United States is the 2nd largest tomato producing country in the world!
Spring and summer are the best times of year to add tomatoes to your diet. They are fresh, flavorful and local!
Tomatoes are widely known for their strong antioxidant powers. This is mainly due to the high concentrations of lycopene. Lycopene is a potent carotenoid, which gives tomatoes their rich color.
Research has found the high antioxidant and nutrient properties of tomatoes can result in increased health and better prevention.
- Increase the amount of good cholesterol and decrease the amount of bad cholesterol found in the bloodstream1
- Decrease the amount of oxidative stress that damages bones and bone tissues2
- Protect cells with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in tomatoes3
Are tomatoes a fruit or vegetable?
Many people consider tomatoes to be a vegetable because of their minimal amount of sweetness. However, tomatoes are actually considered to be a fruit. Not only are they a part of the fruit family, they are a part of the berry family.
Find Tomatoes Near You
- www.agrillicious.com is a website that allows you to search for local, organic produce in your area! It searches that nearest farms, restaurants and farmers markets that carry each produce.
- Visit www.agrilicious.org/local/tomatoes/arizona to find Arizona tomatoes!
Getting kids to eat everything that is good for them can be a challenge. Luckily, there are creative ways to transform meals and flavors. Try this tomato pie recipe from Super Healthy Kids!
- 1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 ounce mozzarella cheese
- Cut piecrust to fit small ramekins
- Slice tomato, pat dry and salt
- Slice cheese
- Assemble tarts with crust, sliced tomatoes and topped with cheese
- Sprinkle with oregano
- Bake in oven at 425 for 10-15 minutes, or until crust is cooked
- Silaste ML, Alfthan G, Aro A, et al. Tomato juice decreases LDL cholesterol levels and increases LDL resistance to oxidation. Br J Nutr. 2007 Dec;98(6):1251-8. 2007. PMID:17617941.
- Mackinnon ES, Rao AV, and Rao LG. Dietary restriction of lycopene for a period of one month resulted in significantly increased biomarkers of oxidative stress and bone resorption. J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 Feb;15(2):133-8. 2011.
- Borguini RG and Torres EAFDS. Tomatoes and Tomato Products as Dietary Sources of Antioxidants. Food Reviews International. Philadelphia: 2009. Vol. 25, Iss. 4; p. 313-325. 2009.