Tomatoes fresh from the vine are a favorite at farmers markets this time of year.  And they should be. They are abundant and super versatile. Sometimes a tomato is just there – a bland tasting little bit of red food on your plate. A fresh tomato, on the other hand can be so satisfying and tasty.  In describing a tomato Emily Spicer (San Antonio Express News) said in her review of Sue's dinner kit, “fresh veggies – really fresh with a tomato that actually tasted like a tomato!”

And while the taste may be fantastic, let’s not forget about the health benefits of tomatoes. Though there is no legal or medical definition, “superfoods” are nutrient powerhouses and tomatoes are definitely one of the superfoods. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease, and prolong life, and people who eat more of them are healthier and thinner than those who don't. Without listing all of the benefits or all the vitamins and minerals, we’ll just share five of the benefits of eating tomatoes.

1.      Improves vision: Vitamin A, present in tomatoes, helps to improve your eyesight as well as prevent night-blindness and macular degeneration.

2.      Helps fight cancer: According to studies, tomatoes contain large amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, that is effective in lowering the risk of cancer, especially lung, stomach and prostrate cancers.

3.      Maintaining blood health: Research suggests that a single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement and also contains vitamin A, potassium, and iron that is essential for maintaining normal blood health. Vitamin K, which is controls bleeding and blood clotting, tomatoes help in blood circulation.

4.      Reduces risk of heart disease: The lycopene in tomatoes can protect you against cardiovascular diseases. Consuming tomatoes regularly helps decrease the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood, reducing the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.

5.      Good for digestion: Eating tomatoes daily can keep your digestive system healthy as it prevents both, constipation and diarrhea. It also prevents jaundice and effectively removes toxins from the body.

Nutritional Value of Tomatoes

The many health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of nutrients and vitamins, including an impressive amount of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as significant amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin. Tomatoes are also a an excellent source of manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorous. They also contain protein and dietary fiber, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that also contribute to the overall health benefits that tomatoes can confer to our health!

Interestingly studies show that cooking increases the antioxidants and lycopene present in tomatoes. Sue Sheff helps you get your tomato "superfood" fix with several of her offerings this time of year.