In the south, a summertime tomato sandwich is almost a ritual, a right of passage! It signals to our culinary palette that summer has arrived!! If you happen to get a home grown tomato straight from the garden even better!
Oh, I have heard we should avoid tomatoes because they contain lectins.
Should you avoid tomatoes because they contain lectins. Unless you are sensitive or allergic to tomatoes or nightshade plants you should certainly enjoy their wonderful taste and bounty of health benefits.
Why the fuss about lectins?
Lectins are plant compounds that can inhibit digestion and are a protective element in many foods, not just plants. We will cover this in greater detail in another blog soon. More than 30% of the foods growing in a garden contain some form of lectins. And, get this, dairy has some of the highest amounts of lectins. Many of you have heard about or read in Dr. Gundry’s book “The Plant Paradox” that lectins are bad and we should avoid them or buy his supplement to block lectins. The foods that Dr. Gundry is telling us to avoid are, for the most part, beneficial and healthy for us. However, if you know for a fact you are lectin sensitive then consuming dairy, tomatoes, beans, peas, grains and nuts and seeds may not be for you.
Back to tomatoes!
They can be sweet yet tart, it may show its real colors as yellow, orange, red, and green. This delightful fruit has over a thousand different varieties that can decorate your plate in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. This food is used in more recipes than almost any other food. Although it is a fruit, it is used most often as a savory part of a recipe. But it can also be made into a delicious pie.
Introducing the humble tomato!
Tomato, Tamato however you say it, meh… It doesn’t conjure up thoughts of exotic flavors or leave us envisioning it wearing the cape of super nutrition. The tomato is so widely used it’s nutritional super hero status has been forgotten or at the least minimized. We have taken the TOMATO for granted! Shame on us.
I think the tomato is lost in a sea of new super-foods, yet it may be one of the most versatile and most powerful of all foods.! How many ways can the tomato be used? The versatile tomato; tomato juice, tomato soup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, salsa, you get the picture. But I don’t hear people talking about the mighty tomato; it’s health benefits, its great flavor, its boldness or tartness.
The humble tomato has been overlooked and it is now time to bring it to the front where it rightfully belongs. If you think about it, the tomato is what makes many dishes shine. Without it as an ingredient what would spaghetti sauce be, or salsa or seafood gumbo or Manhattan clam chowder? I’m sure you can think of dozens of more dishes where the TOMATO is the star, right?
A CHEFS DELIGHT!
Tomato’s cross all cultural food boundaries. From African, Mexican, Latin, Spanish, Caribbean, Greek, Italian, Oriental, European and certainly American cuisines.
During the spring and summer growing season in the southeast where I live, nothing is better appreciated than a hand-picked organic tomato sliced and made into the famous BLT or bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich. Everyone has their favorite condiments to go with it and favorite bread. Most of which aren’t so healthy. They slather mayo on white bread then top it off with iceberg lettuce and bacon for a BLT. I have to admit it does have a marvelous (hear Billy Crystal’s “marvelous darling”) taste but it can be artery clogging also. There is a much healthier version. Use Ezekiel bread, fresh organic tomato, Vegenaise, low sodium turkey bacon, Himalayan salt and fresh cracked organic black pepper a dash of cumin and romaine or a crisp butter lettuce. This is a yummy sandwich!!
BE CAREFUL : IF YOU HAVE AN AUTO-IMMUNE CONDITION EATING TOMATO’S AND OTHER NIGHTSHADE PLANTS MAY MAKE THE CONDITIONS WORSE. THESE PLANTS AFFECT EVERYONE DIFFERENTLY. TRY A LITTLE AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY PROBLEMS TRY MORE.
Let’s talk about why the tomato should be a routine part of your culinary palette.
There are literally thousands of different types of tomato’s, meaning you are not stuck with just a Beefsteak or Roma tomatoes. Tomato’s are loaded with vitamins, minerals and many powerful antioxidants. We always hear about lycopene, the tomatoes most popular and powerful antioxidant, but the tomato, is packed with several antioxidants! In fact, the tomato comes in different colors like orange and yellow and the lycopene in the orange and yellow tomato’s are better absorbed, than the lycopene from the red tomato. I bet most of you didn’t know those facts!
While all tomatoes have good antioxidant capacity, four varieties of tomatoes turned out to have a higher average antioxidant capacity compared with other tomato varieties regardless of whether they were grown conventionally or organically. The New Girl, Jet Star, Fantastic, and First Lady tested highest but only marginally higher in antioxidant capacity. This means all tomato’s have good antioxidant, anti-aging power. What makes the tomato an antioxidant superstar is the variety of antioxidants they contain. If you want super antioxidant power from the tomato don’t peel them. A lot of the antioxidant power is in the peeling. A cooked tomato is going to have a higher absorption rate of the antioxidant lycopene but not necessarily of the other antioxidants. Tomatoes have several types of antioxidants giving them a big cross-section of health promoting benefits.
Tomato’s provide cardiovascular health benefits and reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels. They help prevent fatty acid oxidation which can damage our cardiovascular system and heart. Many of the phytonutrients in tomato’s have shown the ability to help keep blood platelets from clumping. This helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Tomato’s are a good source of Vitamin A, rich in Vitamin C and a good source of B Vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, Choline, Folate and rich in Biotin. Tomato’s are a good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, a good source of many minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorous. Tomato’s are also a great source of fiber and 1 cup of tomato’s has 3 grams of protein!
TOMATO’S HEALTH BENEFITS
- Tomato’s provide bone building health properties. Lycopene, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Vitamin A are very important for bone health. Studies show lycopene is particularly important at preventing oxidative stress in bones.
- Tomato’s offer many cancer preventing benefits, particularly prostate cancer.
- Tomato’s help prevent our stored fats (triglycerides) from becoming cellular damaging oxidized fatty acids.
- Tomato’s protect our blood vessels by providing nutrients that keep the cell membranes flexible and protect against blood vessel cell wall oxidative damage.
- Tomato’s help keep blood platelets from clumping together.
- Tomato’s help prevent premature-aging by providing a super arsenal of anti-oxidants that protect our DNA
- Tomato’s provide health promoting and protective benefits for our vision.
- Tomato’s provide nutrients that keep our skin soft and flexible and help protect against sun damage.
When you look closely at the nutritional profile of tomato’s you will want to have them everyday. Inside that round or oblong shaped fruit is a powerhouse of health promoting and anti-aging nutrition. Check this out.
A 1 cup serving of tomato’s can offer; (source http://www.whfoods.com)
- 33% RDI of Vitamin C
- 24% RDI of Biotin
- 20% RDI of Molybdenum
- 16% RDI of Vitamin K
- 12% RDI of Potassium
- 12% RDI of Copper
- 11% RDI of Manganese
- 9% RDI of Fiber
- 8% RDI of Vitamin A
- 8% RDI of Vitamin B6
- 7% RDI of Vitamin B3
- 7% RDI of Folate
- 6% RDI of Phosphorus
- 6% RDI of Vitamin B1
- 6% RDI of Vitamin E
- 5% RDI of Magnesium
- 4% RDI of Chromium
- 3% RDI of Iron
- 3% RDI of Zinc
- 3% RDI of Choline
- 3% RDI of Pantothenic Acid
- 3% RDI of Protein
AND THESE ANTIOXIDANTS;
- Caffeic Acid
- Ferulic Acid
- Coumaric Acid
- Esculeoside A
- 9-Oxo-Octadecadienoic Acid
Face the fact’s, you have eaten tomato’s and have been disrespecting their nutritional super status haven’t you? It’s time you give the tomato the respect it deserves. Repeat after me; Tomato I am sorry I under appreciated your nutritional super-stardom and promise to always keep you in high regards every time I eat you!
Every time you see a tomato regardless of its color or shape just remember it is a powerhouse of life promoting and healing nutrition and phytonutrients.
I wish you the very best in health and wellness,
Wally Bishop C.N.C. I.N.H.C., C.I.C.P.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner
The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such! This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.