There's nothing like a fresh tomato picked from the vine this time of year: sweet, juicy and packed with flavour.
Tomatoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The most notable being, red, yellow and orange, but don't forget about the purple, green and brown varieties.
Because tomatoes are often associated with Mediterranean & Italian food, it is assumed that the tomato is of European origin. It was actually first cultivated in Mexico and much later, ended up on boats travelling to Europe that got them into those counties.
It is widely known that the tomato has both anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties. When it comes to tomatoes it is the carotenoids - the bright red, orange and yellow pigments that act as the antioxidants, that are focused on, but they actually contain many different phytonutrients that provide different health benefits. These include:
Fatty acid derivatives
Each of the above listed group of phytonutrients plays a key role in health benefits. There are numerous studies linking the intake of tomatoes to the decrease of risk of disease in many parts of the body: heart, skin, eyes, lungs, & kidneys, just to name a few.
Tomatoes also contain important vitamins (A, C & E) and minerals (zinc, chromium and manganese). Many recipes that use tomatoes, contain a good quality fat. The reason being is that the combination of the tomato and fat provide better health benefits than just eating the tomato alone.
While tomatoes are great for the majority of people to consume, it is important to understand that the tomato is part of the "nightshade" family of foods. For people with autoimmune diseases such as Grave's disease, Hashimoto's, Psoriasis, Celiac Disease & Type 1 Diabetes, tomatoes - and other nightshades - can cause an autoimmune response, and should be avoided.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette - via Eating Well
The Best Tomato Sauce Recipe - via Gluten Free on a Shoestring