Grab a Tomato and Call Me In the Morning

Sometimes baby steps are all you need to walk in the right direction. Completely overhauling an entire lifetime’s lifestyle in order to make healthy choices is often a steep and tumultuous road to try and follow. Although it can be done, it is often much easier and more likely to be an effective accomplishment to change your life if doing it one step at a time. When considering this, it is never easy to distinguish where to draw the starting line, whereas acknowledging an ideal finish line is much clearer: reaching optimum health. With health usually comes happiness, so the sooner you are ready to implement small changes the better. Of course, it is apparent that diet and exercise are exactly what the doctor ordered. The most popular cliché used to pinpoint “an apple a day….”, but times have changed into adapting at least a tomato a day. Let’s make this even easier: how about tomato paste, or sauce, tomato juice, or for those who consider this a stretch-think about this health blessing as a slice of pizza.

Tomatoes have become very popular thanks to the plethora of recent studies proving just how miraculous the effects of these red fruits really are. The list is becoming endless: tomatoes help reduce the risk of numerous illnesses while single handedly contributing to the well being of your body and even mind. Lycopene, one of the great antioxidants found in tomatoes actually comes from the red pigment of the skin. This, along with the other awesome antioxidant, beta-carotene, directly helps reduce the risk of many cancers; including pancreatic, colorectal, lung, prostate, and cervical cancer, along with cancers of the mouth, stomach, pharynx, and esophagus. Lycopene has an innate ability to help fight against free radicals and protects the body’s cells from oxygen damage, which in turn helps protect DNA in the middle of white blood cells. Heart disease prevention is another awesome attribute found via the consumption of tomatoes and tomato products. This, along with lower cholesterol, reduced stress levels, counteractive blood hyperactivity (less frequent blood clots in type 2 diabetes), and even enriched, longer living with the prolonged ability to lead an active lifestyle are just a few benefits.

Though lycopene has gained fame for its direct correlation to the massive health benefits found in tomatoes, it is not the sole nutritional compound to give credit to. Aside from the other powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene, the overall nutritional balance found in the tomato has also contributed to the reduction of illnesses, as well as promotion of all-rounded health. Studies have shown that whole tomato supplements have had much greater success in every area versus isolated lycopene supplements. Studies have also found that because lycopene is found in the tomato’s skin it is better to consume your tomatoes cooked. Unlike many vegetables that lose serious nutritional value once it is cooked, the heat preparation makes the nutrients in the tomato more bioavailable, and the tomato does not lose any of its packed nutritional punch. Because of this, tomato pastes, sauces, juices, and even ketchups provide an awesome way to consume these amazing health benefits.

Here are a couple tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your tomatoes. When selecting fresh tomatoes, select the darkest red you can find. This will hold the highest amounts of lycopene, while ensuring all the other nutritional values are abundant as well. When seeking your health from other products, always choose organic. Studies show organic ketchups provide five times the amount of lycopene and other nutrients than non-organic products. The difference is significant. While tomatoes are available all year round, they are at their healthiest peak during the months of July-September so eat as many as you can. The qualities of this fruit are nearly endless. The benefits far surpass the numerous ways to prepare this food, and that makes it all the easier to find a way of consumption that works just for you. Considering all the amazing health benefits, take this advice: Eat Up. A tomato a day will most likely really keep the doctor away.