By: Donna Quirk, MBA RD LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager
June is Men’s Health Month and there is no better time to start new habits and make better food choices. Emerging research is suggesting that the tomato might be the food of choice because of its cancer protective qualities – particularly for prostate cancer.
Tomatoes are great sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and carotenoids. The caronoid Lycopene is most abundant but tomatoes also contain 7 other carotenoids. Researchers believe that it is all the compounds in tomatoes working together that give you the best benefit.
And there is more good news. Processed tomato products are just as good, if not better, than fresh tomatoes. Evidence indicates that processing tomatoes makes the lycopene more readily absorbed and used by the body. So if you are concerned about not using fresh produce before it spoils, you can rely on the shelf life and convenience of tomato sauces, salsas, and juices. Just look for no salt added.
So how can you increase your tomato intake?
• Include fresh tomato slices at breakfast with eggs or toast and at lunch on sandwiches.
• Dice tomatoes into salsas or bruschetta.
• Grill fresh tomato halves or cherry tomatoes on kebabs.
• Add to salads, tacos, and pasta dishes.
• Always have on hand no salt added canned diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, salsa, and ketchup.
• Create a healthy pizza with whole grain crust, tomato sauce, and lots of fresh vegetables
• Enjoy tomato or vegetable juice (no added salt) as a beverage.
• Make tomato based vegetable soups with canned tomatoes – like gazpacho. Yum!
So I hope you will take steps during Men’s Health Month to improve your health and you can start by adding tomatoes to your diet.
Source: Palmer RD, Sharon. Can Tomatoes Slice Prostate Cancer Risk? Evidence Suggests a Tomato-Rich Diet Benefits Men. Today’s Dietitian. June 2012. Accessed Jun 8, 2012.