Friday, November 03, 2006

Adding some Color to my diet, pt. 3

Tomatoes! Pizza is one of my triggers that I wrote about at Thursday Thirteen which I'm avoiding. However, if you read up on tomatoes, pizza is practically a health food! They are great in the summer, and I love it when our son brings over tomatoes fresh from his garden, but they are also terrific when processed, particularly in juice or tomato paste.

Photo used with permission of SusanV who writes a vegan blog

I've always included tomatoes in things like chili, stew, and fresh salads, so I'm not sure this is a new addition as much as an increase. I'm drinking 6 oz. of tomato juice every day. I buy the small cans, because I don't like to drink it cold. I discovered that one of the reasons I always got a stomach ache from tomato juice was that I was drinking it chilled. It tastes much better at room temperature.

Lycopene is the hot word in tomato research. This carotenoid is found in tomatoes and is one of those antioxidents, running around battling those bad things that cause prostate, breast, pancreatic and intestinal cancers. Even catsup is good for you (that's a tomato product I rarely eat). I'm having a colonoscopy at the end of the month (the only test you can take that will actually prevent cancer), and studies show that blood levels of lycopene were 35% lower in people with polyps (the little growths that are removed before they become cancerous).

Tomatoes have lots of other good things--like vitamin C and vitamin A. My 6 oz. of juice has 90% of the C for the day. They are also a good source of potassium, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate, good for cholesterol levels, blood pressure and keeping your blood vessels healthy. There's a lot of research out there showing tomatoes' cardiovascular benefits. Tomato juice helps reduce blood clots, and there's some good studies going on for benefits for diabetics.

This article at World's healthiest foods lists the journal sources if you'd like to check the research yourself. Even if you can't read all the big words, you can look at the summaries and conclusions and see how often the research is cited by others.

So, go out and have a pizza tonight.

Part 1, bell peppers
Part 2, grapes

1 comment:

Darla said...

*blinks* Wow. I didn't even read this yesterday, and we took my mother-in-law to Pizza Hut for lunch. (Here in Germany, that's something unusual.) I feel much better about indulging, now. :)