UNF Nutrition and Dietetics Student
Have you heard?
April is Florida’s Tomato Month! Tomatoes are such a fun fruit with many nutritional benefits and uses. The tomato comes in many different forms and sizes such as the grape tomato and the cherry tomato, which are the smaller shaped tomatoes seen on side salads. Salad tomatoes are the plump round and red tomato we all picture in our heads whenever we hear the term “tomato”. Salad tomatoes are more commonly seen sliced on burgers and sandwiches. Examples are Roma, Early Girl, Heirloom, and Beefsteak. These specific tomatoes are also good to use for a tomato sauce. But enough of what you already know, lets start learning about phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants that are believed to affect health.1 Phytochemicals found in tomatoes are carotenoids with the most prominent carotenoid being lycopene.2 Carotenoids are what provide tomatoes with their red color while lycopene is related to the antioxidant effect that tomatoes have. Lycopene has recently been studied for its health benefits and researchers have concluded that lycopene may be useful in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.3 More reasons to eat some tomatoes, right?
Nutrients found within tomatoes include vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and even folate.4 These minerals and vitamins are good for… wait a minute, you should have seen this on my last article! (See blog post under National Nutrition Month). But just in case you’re new here, they are used in the body for warding off free radicals, muscle contractions, blood clotting, and the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, respectively.
If all of this new information has gotten you into the mood for a tomato or maybe you want to start incorporating them into your diet, here’s a recipe for you to try at home.
Serves: 8 servings
Serving Size: 2 slices • Calories: 153 • Fat: 3.4 g • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g • Carbs: 25.7 g • Fiber: 0.9 g • Protein: 5.1 g
For more Nutrition information contact:
Nancy Cohen RDN LDN
Nutritionist, Dietitian & Energy Worker