What could be better than some warming, nutritious soups to ease you through the last days of this interminable winter? Today I want to talk about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes. So to start, here are two fantastic, simple recipes for tomato soup:
Tomato is famously rich in LYCOPENE. Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are the substances that give vegetables their red, orange and yellow hues. Lycopene is not used by the body to make vitamin A, as many other carotenoids are, making it unique and safe.
Here are some good sources of lycopene:
- ½ cup canned tomato puree
- 1 cup canned tomato juice
- 1 wedge of raw watermelon
- ½ cup ready-to-serve marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon canned tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon catsup
- ½ pink or red grapefruit
- 1 tablespoon salsa
- One sun-dried tomato
- One slice of raw tomato
- Notice how much more lycopene the sun-dried tomato has!
Lycopene is absorbed best when foods containing it are cooked, and also when a small amount of fat is eaten with the food, making these soups a perfect way to get your lycopene! I’d even add a little more good-quality olive oil than called for.
Some medical studies suggest that lycopene may be protective against certain cancers, such as lung, stomach, skin, cervix, possibly breast and particularly prostate. Some of the studies used lycopene supplements while others were observational studies of persons with high lycopene diets. The studies using a supplement were less impressive than the ones reflecting a high–lycopene diet such as the Mediterranean diet.
HAVE A HIGH CARDIOVASCULAR RISK?
A recent study in the journal Neurology shows that men with high lycopene levels have a lower stroke risk. (Hey, lets do a study on women, too!) Lycopene may also improve cholesterol profile. However, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL EXTRA BENEFIT FROM EATING WHOLE FOODS FOR NUTRIENTS. I think the other nutrients and micronutrients, fiber and more in real foods are an inextricable part of the good effects of nutrients like lycopene!
So eat REAL, WHOLE FOOD!
(WATCH: Jon Stewart’s take on snack foods)
All the best,