YOU SAY TOMATO – I SAY TOMAHTO
No matter how you say it, welcome Everyone to another WHAT’S ON THE MENU MONDAY. It’s the last week of June and CANCER SURVIVOR MONTH. So, today we’re going to continue our discussion of survival by focusing on one of the best darn foods we can eat – the humble tomato.
FIRST, DID YOU KNOW:
1) In Colonial times the tomato was thought to be toxic and that poison from the tomato would turn human blood into acid?
2) The tomato is not a vegetable – it’s a fruit because it develops from the seed-bearing ripened ovary of a flower?
3) In today’s world, the average person consumes over twenty pounds of tomatoes every year?
4) And, the tomato is a powerhouse food that fights and helps prevent cancer?
Well, now you know. And, as a survivor of three different cancers I spend a lot of time discussing the cancer-fighting abilities of many different foods. So, exactly how does a simple tomato help us in our daily quest to stay healthy and fight cancer?
To begin, remember that cancer is a “multifactorial” disease. This means there are many different “causes” that can lead to the development of cancer.
Among these many recognized causes of cancer we have heredity and genetic makeup, medical conditions and procedures, environmental factors such as solar radiation, air pollution, water pollution, pesticides, chemicals and viruses. And, of course, we have several “lifestyle” cancer factors, including tobacco use, alcohol misuse, occupation, lack of exercise, obesity and improper diet.
As to the latter two factors, the wonderful Dr. Joseph Mercola has written extensively about cancer risk and the role that obesity plays. And, of course, the main factor in the development of obesity according to Dr. Mercola is excessive sugar consumption. And, this my friends is where the amazing tomato comes in 😊
- As all fruits and vegetables, tomatoes contain carbohydrates in the form of fiber and naturally occurring sugar.
- The carbohydrate content in one cup of sliced or diced tomatoes is about 7 grams and the sugar content is less than 5 grams or a little more than one teaspoon.
- Tomatoes contain less sugar than many other citrus fruits and the sugar in a tomato is in its simplest form, which means it only undergoes one quick step to become glucose ready to fuel the body.
- The same cup of tomatoes contains 0 grams of fat and only about 30 calories. It’s a perfect food for promoting fat regulation and sugar metabolism.
But, that’s not all! Not only is the tomato a wise food choice for those watching their weight and sugar intake – both of which are related to the development of cancer – but, it has many other cancer-fighting properties as well. For instance:
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytochemical that effectively fights cancer-causing free radicals and protects against prostate, cervical, endometrial, lung and breast cancer. A single medium tomato provides about 40% of our daily vitamin C requirement and, of course, vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, which also helps prevent damage from free radicals.
- Another powerful antioxidant — vitamin A — is found in tomatoes as well. Not only does this vitamin protect and improve our vision, it also joins the fight against cancer-causing free radicals.
- Tomatoes are loaded with coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid. Both fight the main carcinogens found in cigarettes – nitrosamines. And, of course, cigarette smoking is linked to many different cancers. By fighting the nitrosamines in cigarettes, tomatoes fight and help prevent against the cancers caused by cigarettes, including lung cancer.
- The fiber in tomatoes keeps our digestive tract healthy and regular, effectively removing toxins and bacteria from the body. This stimulates our smooth digestive muscles, releases gastric and digestive juices and helps protect against colon and rectal cancer.
- The juice of a tomato can reduce our blood levels of TNF-alpha, which causes inflammation. And, when we reduce inflammation, we reduce our risk for many chronic, degenerative conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis and, of course, cancer.
Remember, you can add variety to your diet by including all tomato-based foods such as sauces, pastes and condiments. And, don’t forget the pasta sauce! The heating process involved in cooking tomatoes actually increases the amount of lycopene our body can absorb. Now, that’s a Good Thing!
Before closing, here are just a few FINAL TIPS for the TOMATO LOVER IN ALL OF US:
GOOD: Always opt for fresh tomatoes versus canned. Most cans are lined with bisphenol A, or BPA, which we all know is a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to breast cancer.
BETTER: Always buy organic tomatoes. Non-organic tomato samples have tested positive for five types of known or probable carcinogens and 16 suspected hormone-disrupting chemicals from pesticide residue.
BEST: Grow your own! Avoid any doubts about the way or place in which your tomatoes were grown.
It’s Summer – and tomatoes are ripe and ready — so, be sure to take advantage of this Super Food today!
Thanks for joining me everyone. As we end the month of June and CANCER SURVIVOR MONTH, I want to take a moment to Salute all my Fellow Fighters in our Personal Wars on Cancer. I wish you Strength, Courage and Happiness as you continue your Cancer Journey. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .
And, for more information on Dr. Joseph Mercola and access to a vast array of health-related articles, please visit: www.mercola.com