Thursday, June 23, 2011

FUEL Better: Farmer's Market Style

The tomato is arguably the mascot of summer vegetables in the South. If you grew up south of the mason dixon line you have at least one childhood memory of a sweet and juicy vine-ripened tomato. Even though you can purchase tomatoes year-round, the summer months mark the pickin’ season. A tomato is a versatile vegetable making them a must buy at your local farmer’s market. 
Whether you view the tomato as a vegetable or a fruit – either way – they sure taste good and are good for you.

Tomatoes are a happy-looking vegetable and come in many different colors besides bright red. They can be found in orange, green, pink, purple, yellow, and even white selections. Tomatoes make a rather attractive addition to any recipe. Add tomatoes to a salad, dress up a burger, top off a pizza, salsa your way to Mexico, enjoy a taste of Italy and pass the ketchup!
Enjoy an assortment of styles and colors of tomatoes but choose the bright red variety for a nutrient rich punch. Why? The bright red color contains a powerful antioxidant, lycopene.  Lycopene is a natural pigment responsible for the deep red color of several fruits.

Consuming lycopene often can fight against cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration and improve fertility in men. To maximize absorption seek out crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and cooked tomatoes. Lycopene is a fat-soluble substance, and requires the presence of dietary fat for maximum absorption through the digestive tract.

FUEL Tip: Eat fresh tomatoes in a salad with oil based dressing or cooked tomato based sauce with olive oil to enhance the lycopene absorption.  Or just simply pass the Ketchup!

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