Oct 1st, 2016
Author: Cocoon Web Design
You say tomato I say…
The tomato is the edible, red fruit of Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant, which belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The species originated in Central
and South America. The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word “tomate”, from which the English word tomato originates. While tomatoes are botanically berry-type fruits, they are considered culinary vegetables as ingredients of savory meals. There are literally hundreds of different tomato varieties. (reference: Wikipedia)
Most tomatoes, and especially those of the deep red color variety, contain a rich concentration of lycopene, a carotenoid and antioxidant. *However, a small preliminary study on healthy men and women has shown that the lycopene from orange- and tangerine-colored tomatoes may actually be better absorbed than the lycopene from red tomatoes. That’s because the lycopene in deep red tomatoes is mostly trans-lycopene, and the lycopene in orange/tangerine tomatoes is mostly tetra-cis-lycopene. In a recent study, this tetra-cis form of lycopene turned out to be more efficiently absorbed by the study participants. While more research is needed in this area, we’re encouraged to find that tomatoes may not have to be deep red in order for us to get great lycopene-related benefits (*The World’s Healthiest Foods). Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health. Other antioxidants in tomatoes include lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have also been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Additionally, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together of platelet cells in the blood, which is an important factor in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, providing a moderate to high percentage of the Daily Recommended Intake or Value (DRI/DV) of nutrients, especially vitamins C, K, A and several of the B vitamins, potassium and fiber. (reference: The World’s Healthiest Foods)
Tomato, Onion, and Cucumber Salad (Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray)
(Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com)
Ingredients: 5 medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced 1/4 red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced 1 Kirby cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced A generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons 2 splashes red wine vinegar Coarse salt and black pepper Directions: Dress the tomatoes, onions, and cucumber with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let stand while you prepare dinner, about 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve salad with crusty bread for mopping up juices and oil. Serves four.
Billi-Jean’s special addition to the salad:
Avocados! Slice up an avocado and place ¼ of them on top of each salad.