Did you know that tomatoes were once considered poison? It's
true, the tomato is a member of the nightshade family, and was
at one time considered to be toxic. Tomatoes were first eaten in
the U.S. in the early 1800's, when a gentleman by the name of
Robert Johnson shocked his hometown by eating a basket of
tomatoes in the middle of town. When he didn't die, or even get
sick from the tomatoes, they became a part of the American diet.
We now know that tomatoes are not toxic, and in fact are
quite nutritious. First of all, tomatoes contain a lot of
vitamin C, which is quite beneficial, as you've probably heard.
Vitamin C helps the body to produce collagen, an important
protein skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood
vessels. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, helping to prevent
cell damage by free radicals.
Tomatoes also contain a
powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Studies have shown that
men consuming 10 servings of tomatoes a week cut the risk of
prostate cancer by 45%. Lycopene also lower the risk of
colorectal cancer and stomach cancer, and inhibits the growth of
other types of cancer cells. Lycopene may also help older folks
Coumaric acid and chlorogenic acied are
also found in tomatoes. These two compounds are thought to block
the effects of nitrosamines, which are formed naturally in the
body, but are also a strong carcinogen in tobacco smoke.
Tomatoes may also help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes are a good source of potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, and
folate. Niacin has been used for years to lower cholesterol.
Potassium has been shown to lower high blood pressure. And
vitamin B6 and folate are used by the body to convert a
dangerous chemical called homocysteine into more benign
Vitamin K, found in tomatoes helps to maintain
healthy bones. Vitamin K1 activates a protein in the bones
called osteocalcin, which anchors calcium inside the bone.
Without enough vitamin K, bone mineralization is impaired.
When you buy tomatoes, be sure to buy the ones with the
brightest red color. This indicates high amounts of
beta-carotene and lycopene. Lycopene is found in the cell walls
of the tomato, so by cooking it in a bit of oil, more lycopene
is fully released. Also, cooking the tomato in a bit of olive
oil helps your body to absorb the lycopene. If all you can find
are canned tomatoes, that's fine. Cooking and canning don't
cause tomatoes to lose any of their nutritional value. So cooked
and processed tomatoes are just as beneficial as fresh tomatoes.
So tomatoes, once thought to be deadly poison, are now a
nutritious staple of our diet. They help to fight cancer, and
they contain a good amount of vitamin C, and other vitamins and
minerals. So go ahead and start adding tomatoes to your diet.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion,
4 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you want)
ground beef (optional)
4 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
28oz. can of tomato sauce
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
Tbsp dried oregano
3 bay leaves
In a large soup pot,
heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion,
and cook for a couple of minutes, until the onion is tender. Add
the garlic, and cook briefly. Be sure not to burn the garlic.
If using ground beef, cook the meat in a skillet until browned.
Drain the meat, and add it to the pot.
Add the tomatoes,
tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, oregano, and bay leaves.
Stir everything together, then turn the heat to medium low, and
simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the sauce from the heat, and serve over pasta. The
leftover sauce will freeze well.
About the Author:
Tim Sousa is the webmaster for
A blog about the negative calorie diet, and negative calorie