Kathy Hamlin

Kathy Hamlin

Tomatoes are starting to ripen in my garden. There is no better tomato than a fresh one plucked right from the garden.

A tomato is technically a fruit because it is seed-bearing and develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. But when it comes to nutrition, they are categorized as vegetables.

A single tomato provides almost 40% of our recommended daily amount of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is linked to lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. A medium tomato provides just 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates.

Tomatoes are also loaded with vitamin A and lycopene. Lycopene is a vital antioxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases. There is no other vegetable or fruit that has a higher concentration of lycopene than a tomato. Lycopene gives the tomato its rich red color.

Try getting at least one serving of tomato in your diet each day. Add fresh tomatoes to salads or serve them drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Add them to pastas or in an omelet. They are great brushed with olive oil on the grill. There are many options besides fresh, including tomato juice, tomato based pasta sauces, sun dried tomatoes, and canned varieties.

Try this terrific salsa for a fresh taste of summer!

Kathy Hamlin is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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