Tomatoes have long been a staple of Mediterranean cuisine as they are one of the more versatile foods that you can use in a wide variety of dishes. While technically a fruit, in the kitchen a tomato is often referred to as a vegetable due to its use in savory flavored cooking. There are many different ways in which you can prepare tomatoes which makes them such a favorite ingredient with chefs of all skill levels.
They also happen to be packed with vital nutrients that can have a profound health effect on the body. If your diet is severely lacking in this food then it is time to step up you game. Below are just some of the ways and some reason why consuming more tomatoes is going to be something that your family can benefit from and enjoy.
From the oven to the grill or just plain raw, the great thing about this food is all of the wonderful ways in which you can make use of it. It is also a great base for sauces and soups. Its versatility is what makes it so popular as the number of different tomato recipes out there means you will have a hard time getting bored with it.
If you cook for your family on a regular basis then you should be pleased to know that tomatoes come out great when used in the oven. We recently were lucky enough to receive a new toaster oven for the holidays and we have been extremely busy in our kitchen putting it to the test. The convenience of a countertop oven has made us want to use it more often so we are constantly scrambling to come up with new recipes to try. We have found that a lot of them include this food in some form or fashion.
Quite often we find that baking, roasting, and broiling our tomatoes has produced superb results for us. Homemade pizza has never tasted better. We have also been experimenting with oven roasting them and they always turn out amazing. If you do not yet own one of these small ovens for your kitchen then it is something we recommend looking into. Most of them are quite affordable and you will probably be amazed with just how robust and powerful these appliances can be for you.
We were lucky enough to get a new Breville Smart Oven, which happens to be ranked as the top rated toaster oven in the latest ratings on Gourmet Worrier. We have been in kitchen bliss since we took it out of the box. This oven is made for those who love to cook, like us, and we cannot sing its praises enough. No matter your budget, there is a countertop oven out there for you that will make preparing home cooked meals more fun and less work.
One of our favorite side dishes is cooking up some grilled veggies on the grill. There is nothing like tomatoes, peppers and onions with deep charred grill marks on them. This is one of the things that we love about this vegetable. It can really transform itself depending on how you choose to use it. Creativity is something that makes cooking for yourself so appealing to a number of people. You do not have to be a master chef to whip up something great with a tomato, it works just as well outside on the grill.
Aside from the mouthwatering ways you can use a tomato to elevate the taste of your recipes, it also delivers a nutritional punch to your diet. There are several health benefits that you can prosper from by including this food in your diet.
Tomatoes contain a rich concentration of the flavonoid antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is highly effective in targeting and eradicating disease casing, oxygen- free radicals in one’s body. The powerful antioxidant actions are also effective in maintaining the fluidity, thickness and strength of cell membranes. Cell membranes are responsible for screening what goes enters and exits the cells in the body. They prevent toxins from entering into the cell while allowing good nutrients into the cell, therefore, strong and healthy cell membranes are vital in disease prevention. One can enjoy the benefits offered by lycopene even in heat processed tomato products such as ketchup.
Rich source of minerals and vitamins
Tomatoes are noted to contain a wealth of vitamins including vitamins A, B6, C, and K. It has been noted that one tomato can provide approximately forty percent (40%) of one’s daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is important as it is a natural antioxidant which works to prevent cancer causing radicals from damaging one’s body system, whereas vitamin K is essential in the clotting process. Tomatoes also contain potassium and iron. Potassium is vital as it helps maintain nerve health whereas iron is essential in the maintenance of normal blood health.
They contain Vitamin A and zea-xanthin which aid and maintain good vision. Vitamin A aids in the improvement of one’s eyesight by effectively working to prevent night blindness as well as macular degeneration. Zea-xanthin, as well, works to protect one’s eyes by filtering damaging ultra violet rays. Thus, one’s eyes are protected from age related macular disease.
Reduction of cholesterol
The cardiovascular system carries the greatest need for antioxidant protection. The antioxidant properties of lycopene prevent serum lipid oxidation, therefore exerting a defensive effect in opposition to cardiovascular diseases. Triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, the main agents in cardiovascular disease, cause the deposition of fats in the blood vessels. By eating tomatoes regularly, one effectively reduces the levels of both these harmful agents.
Owing to the large amount of fiber contained in tomatoes, the digestive system is improved through the prevention of both diarrhea and constipation. Healthy quantities of fibers aid in the stimulation of the digestive system. It helps with the release of both digestive and gastric juices. This works to regulate one’s bowel movements, thus improving one’s overall digestive well being and it may help prevent diseases such as colon cancer.
Good looking skin
The topical application of tomato extracts and juice is well known to cure severe sunburn. The daily consumption of tomatoes works to protect one’s skin from harmful ultra violet induced erythema. They are also well known for their anti-aging properties.
We are not doctors and we know that we use tomatoes often because of how great they tastes but it is nice to know that one of our main ingredients is also quite healthy for us. There are plenty of reasons that you should be eating more of this delectable food and there are going to be plenty of recipes out there that let you take advantage of it. From pizza to pasta, there are tons of way to enjoy a tomato, just make sure to share them with the ones that you love.