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10 Juicy Reasons to Eat More Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a summer staple. But did you know gardeners can grow tomatoes well into autumn? Not your average fruit, late growing tomatoes include colorful heirloom varieties and small cherry tomatoes perfect for salads and side dishes. These seasonal gems are not only delicious, but they contain a bounty of health benefits! With vitamins A, C and K, folic acid, alpha-lipoic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, lutein, choline, and lycopene, what’s not to love? Read on to find out why (and how) you should be adding tomatoes to your daily diet year-round.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

#1 Younger Looking Skin: Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene and antioxidants that protect your skin from damaging UV rays.

#2 Sounder Sleep: The lycopene in tomatoes can also help you sleep better. In addition, tomatoes contain L-Tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a natural sedative, allowing you to fall asleep faster.

#3 Stronger Bones: The calcium and vitamin K in tomatoes help strengthen your bones and improve bone mass, lowering your risk of osteoporosis.

#4 Better Vision: The carotenoids in tomatoes that help give them vibrant color can also benefit your eyes, preventing light-induced damage. Tomatoes are also filled with vision protecting vitamins C and A.

#5 Improved Immunity: Vitamin C also gives your immune system a boost, especially helpful during cold and flu season.

#6 Healthier Weight: Tomatoes are low in calories, high in fiber, and are naturally hydrating, helping to curb your appetite and stop constipation.

#7 Cancer Prevention: Studies show the antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes can reduce your risk of breast, lung, prostate and stomach cancers. Tomatoes also contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid that help protect the body from carcinogens produced from cigarette smoke.

#8 Healthier Heart: Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin B, folate, niacin and potassium, heart-healthy nutrients that are effective in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. A diet rich in tomatoes can help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

#9 Beauty Booster: Tomatoes are flowing with vitamin A that keeps hair shiny and strong. Vitamin A is also good for your skin and teeth.

#10 Better Blood Sugar: Tomatoes contain the mineral chromium that has been proven effective in keeping blood sugar levels stable and under control.

Delicious Ways to Add Fresh Tomatoes Into Your Diet

• Cook fusilli pasta according to package directions. Toss in halved cherry tomatoes, steamed asparagus, and feta cheese. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and your favorite spices for a pasta salad with pizzazz. Chill before serving.

• Sautee tilapia in a pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, white wine and fresh crushed garlic. Add diced roma tomatoes the last few minutes of cooking and serve on top of whole-wheat cappelini. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

• Make oven-fried green tomatoes for a healthy twist on a Southern favorite.

• Create your own salsa using fresh tomatoes. Mix diced tomatoes with finely diced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, a dash of red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. For a spicy kick, add a couple of seeded, minced jalapenos. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

• Make a southwestern omelet by adding fresh, diced tomatoes, green peppers, and chopped onion. Top with a pinch of shredded sharp cheddar.

• Make your own tomato sauce with roasted plum tomatoes, fresh garlic, and basil.

• For an all-tomato twist on salad, quarter some large heirloom tomatoes and toss with fresh chopped basil, extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. It’s a simple side dish that is sure to please!