This week’s summer beauty food is one that you most likely already have in your anti-inflammatory kitchen. These fruits (botanically speaking) are used in recipes all around the world, especially along the Mediterranean. They also vary in shape, size, and color. In France they are sometimes called the pomme d’amour, meaning the “love apple,” which you’ll be calling it too once you find out about all of its wonderful benefits.
Tomatoes have the highest concentration of lycopene, one of the many phytonutrients found in this food, which also contributes to their vibrant redness. Here are a few ways your body will thank you for eating them:
- This anti-oxidant is essential in helping fight against cancerous cell formation and other health related problems.
- A single tomato can provide up to 40% of your daily vitamin C requirement, another nutrient that helps fight off free radicals. This in turn helps your skin repair itself (especially from sun damage), and you know what that means—smoother and more radiant skin.
- Eating tomatoes daily protects your bones. A study showed that post-menopausal women developed higher levels of oxidative stress and unwanted changes in bones when they eliminated lycopene-containing foods from their diet. So lycopene it up!
- They are a heart healthy food: reducing cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
According to a recent study, the variety of tomatoes also plays a role in their antioxidant capabilities. However, this is up and coming research and the benefits of this marvelous food is being looked into further.
Lucky for you, you can reap the benefits of tomatoes in a variety of ways. Enjoy them fresh or even cooked! Cooking them actually increases the lycopene’s bioavailability fourfold. Tomatoes are also great in homemade masks for sunburns, brightening and smoothing skin, and even reducing blackheads. Also, get some extra vitamin D in your day by going outside and growing your own tomatoes organically. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
How do you enjoy tomatoes?
Katharina Knoll, a Manhattan-based food and art enthusiast has prepared a series of anti-inflammatory recipes celebrating simple, rustic foods. Enraptured by the intersection of health and nutrition, Kat is the founder and director of Behind Foods. Follow Kat on her blog, Katharina’s Food Adventures, and keep in touch through her Facebook fan page and Twitter