The tomato, or “golden apple” in Italian, is a summer must. Originally from Central America, it was introduced to Europe in the 16th century. It belongs to the large Solanaceae family, which includes eggplants and peppers, without forgetting the potato of course. Contrary to popular belief, botanists consider it to be a fruit, resulting from the development of the pistil of the flower. In France, it can be harvested from June to September. Summer fare by excellence, it is bursting with vitamins and nutrients.
The tomato is the fruit that contains the most lycopene, and its nutritional virtues lie principally in this “miracle” molecule. An anti-inflammatory, this antioxidant can counter the free radicals (1) that cause certain cancers, such as cancer of the prostrate (2) or colon. Lycopene, as well as the other carotenoid (3) and flavonoid acids found in the tomato also help eliminate “bad” cholesterol in the blood and thus reduce the risk of cardio-vascular diseases (4). Moreover, lycopene is particularly important for women: without a daily intake of this precious molecule, bone health deteriorates in less than four weeks. The tomato is therefore a valuable ally in the fight against chronic conditions (5) such as osteoporosis or degenerative diseases associated with old age (6).
When it comes to cuisine, we are all familiar with the red tomato of course, but there is also a whole variety of green and yellow tomatoes that have the same nutritional properties and which are all just as delicious: variety is the spice of life! It has recently been shown that concentrated tomato sauces or sauces with tomatoes as the main ingredient are richer in antioxidants than fresh tomatoes (7): you can use and abuse of them in all your recipes throughout the year! (8) Favor sauces however with natural ingredients and no artificially added sugar or salt.
If you eat fresh tomatoes, prefer organically grown tomatoes if available , to be sure to get the maximum nutritional values. We recommend that you dice your tomatoes and eat them fresh with a few drops of olive oil to help your body absorb the lycopene (9). It will give flavor to all your original light salad recipes such as basil-strawberry-advocado. Star vegetable in provincial cuisine, tomatoes go extremely well with zucchinis, peppers, onions and eggplants in your ratatouilles, sauces and cold soups. Don’t forget the classic stuffed tomato: tomatoes keep all their nutritional qualities even when oven-baked!
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