The vegetable that is grown more than any other vegetable in the United States is the tomato.
Botanically, tomatoes are fruit, but they are considered vegetables because they are not as sweet as other fruits.
Tomatoes are divided into four basic types according to their size.
* Cherry tomatoes are the smallest variety you can find. They grow in clusters and are sweet tasting.
* Early Girl and Better Boy are better known as the medium variety. These delicious and sweet tomatoes are the first to ripen.
* Plum tomatoes, which include Roma tomatoes, have thicker walls and fewer seeds which is why they are preferred for tomato sauces.
* For excellent sliced tomatoes, Beefsteaks are the best choice.
Supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets usually carry tomatoes year-round.
Fat Burning Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are high in Vitamin C content along with citricmalic–oxalic acids.
The acid helps speed up your metabolism in addition to boosting the kidneys to get rid of large quantities of fat deposits; it also helps remove fat from your system.
There are large amounts of Vitamins A and K, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc in tomatoes. To produce natural detoxifying and cleansing agents for your body, you need Vitamins A and C.
The chromium in tomatoes helps you keep your blood sugar levels even and reduce the cravings for sugar.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, which helps protect the body from being damaged by free radicals. This antioxidant helps the body make collagen, an important component for healthy skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, and can help heal scar tissue. However, they are mainly made up of beta carotene and lycopene.
Tomatoes get their lovely red color from lycopene. The powerful antioxidant quality of lycopene counteracts free radicals and prevents cell damage. Recent studies seem to show that lycopene may have twice as much antioxidant properties as beta carotene.
Studies have shown that the lycopene found in tomatoes can help defend the body against rectal, colon, breast, lung, stomach, and skin cancers.
Recent studies demonstrate that two compounds found in tomatoes, coumaric acid and chologenic acid, assist in blocking the effects of nitrosamines, especially for people who are smokers. They are shown to effectively prevent lung cancer because it blocks the damage done by nitrosamines.
Tomatoes contain niacin, which lowers cholesterol. Potassium, also found in tomatoes, is known to help lower high blood pressure.
Vitamin K activates osteocalcin, which is necessary to add calcium to your bones, helping you keep your bones strong.
Preparation of Tomatoes
There are more ways to prepare tomatoes than there are varieties of tomatoes! When selecting them always try to get tomatoes that are the darkest red [if you are buying red tomatoes]. This is because lycopene’s presence is in the red pigment.
Raw tomatoes are great tasting, but if you cook them, more lycopene is released. However, cooking them in olive oil first allows your body to more easily absorb the lycopene.
The Mediterranean cuisine, especially Italian, uses a lot of tomatoes.
Sliced or chopped tomatoes are great in a green salad, or you could add cherry tomatoes.
Tomatoes can be put in all kinds of grilling, baking, steaming, and broiling recipes.
Sliced cucumber and sliced onions are great when served with sliced tomatoes. Chop up some parsley or chives to put on top, finally sprinkle some lemon juice over the salad, or perhaps drizzle a nice olive oil.
Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese is great with sliced tomatoes.
You can use Roma tomatoes in stews, soups, pizzas, and even casseroles. Romas, Beefsteaks and other varieties can be added to sandwiches and wraps.
Broil sliced tomatoes on top of fish with thin slices of onions, put chopped tomatoes in a gazpacho, or stuff your tomatoes with spinach. Another tasty treat is using shrimp to stuff your tomatoes.
And you should really try okra with tomatoes and corn! Tomatoes can be baked, or combined with eggplant or artichoke hearts.
Try making your own fresh, healthy, homemade tomato soup instead of buying canned soups full of additives and preservatives.
There are hundreds of tomato recipes out of the thousands available that will fit your tastes and needs, for the tomato ‘vegetable which is really a fruit’ is that flexible and healthy.
They can be included in just about any meal or snack, and when you do so, you can be sure that your body will benefit.
How Much Should You Eat?
The answer depends on how you will fix the tomatoes, e.g., are your going to chop them for a salad, are you going to add cherry tomatoes to dish, are you going to slice them for a sandwich or wrap, or will they be part of a recipe?
Typical serving sizes for you to consider would be: one plum tomato (62 grams) or one medium-sized whole tomato (123 grams), a cup of cherry tomatoes (149 grams), or one cup chopped or sliced tomatoes (180 grams).
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