Well, first of all, I bet your wondering what the big controversy is. There are 2 that we’ll address today, in addition to listing some of the nutritional benefits & reasons why you should be eating these beautiful vegetables (or are they really fruits?).
Ok. The first controversy that I already hinted at, is whether or not Tomatoes are fruits or vegetables.
Scientifically they are…fruits! There you have it you can finally with confidence & conviction tell your friends you absolutely know the truth. If you are a cook and only interested in whether you are working on a savory dish or not, they are most often (by 99% of the Chefs out there) referred to as vegetables. So, if you want to be scientific, tomatoes are fruits not vegetables.
The second controversy, that has gotten press more recently, is the fact that tomatoes are in a family of fruits (or vegetables) that are called nightshades. There’s a great article written by my long-time mentor Mark Sisson here if you want his take on it, but basically nightshades are in a family of produce that can cause some minor reactions to a portion of the human population.
So, if you are not one of those people that are technically allergic to nightshades, the benefits outweigh any of the risk of minor reactions that you could have. If you are not certain whether you do or do not have an issue with them, try a 2-4 week hiatus from them to see if you notice any difference on or off of them. This is admittedly difficult to determine because how can you be certain that it’s not the tomatoes that made you feel funky that day or the Sushi you had with your friends. If you have any doubt, try a little bio experiment out.
Assuming you are not allergic to them, here are some great benefits and unknown facts about tomatoes that I think you’ll find valuable and interesting.
- Tomatoes are a great source of Lycopene which may help prevent several types of cancer in humans
- Fun Fact: Studies have found that tomatoes do not have to be dark-red in color to have high levels of Lycopene and researchers have also determined that paler tomatoes (orange & tangerine colored tomatoes) have a form of Lycopene that is easier for our bodies to absorb. This is definitely counter-intuitive to this certified nutrition counselor.
- Tomatoes are a great source of numerous antioxidants including Lycopene which have been proven to help prevent bone loss (and osteoporosis) in post-menopausal women.
- Researchers who compared conventionally grown tomatoes versus organically grown found that the growing method made a less overall difference than the actual variety of the tomatoes when looking at antioxidant capacity. While all tomatoes showed great antioxidant capacity the better varieties are: New Girl, Jet Star, Fantastic, and First Lady. Further research is needed, but these findings are interesting to say the least.
- Researchers are only now starting to identify some of the phytonutrients in tomatoes. Several of the heart-health benefits that come from tomatoes are: preventing atherosclerosis, lowering total cholesterol, lowering (bad) LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. A couple of the phytonutrients in tomatoes that have these benefits are esculeoside, which is a glycoside (for you techie types) and also a flavanoid called chalconaringenin. Another one they believe to have significant health benefit is 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid a fatty acid. Needless to say, you should put tomatoes on your heart-healthy list and stay tuned as the research catches up to our belief that tomatoes are great for you.
After going through this list, I’ll stop looking at pale tomatoes as the less preferred choice. I’ll definitely keep them on my list of go-to fruits (or vegetables for you die-hard cooks) and not feel guilty about buying the hot-house (non-organic) variety.
Excerpted from the soon to be released Christian Fatloss™ Program
My Journey Alongside Yours: A fairly normal day along the path of weight loss for me. I hit the mountain today and completed my 11-mile out-and-back mountain bike ride, even though it’s starting to get pretty warm here in Scottsdale, AZ. It was 83 degrees F when I started my about 1 hours bike ride. I’m not complaining about the heat in any way, as some of my friends in Canada right now are seeing -1 degrees C and snow at the time of this writing. I feel blessed to live where I do and don’t even mind when it hits between 105 deg F and 115 deg F on a regular basis in the summer.
I finished out the night right on my calorie budget and am thankful to have the opportunity to share this journey with you. Thanks for joining me on your own Christian Fatloss™ Journey.
Don’t Forget: You’re an awesome Victory in Progress™!
I’m glad we are in this weight loss program together. You’re often my motivation to keep on keeping on and I hope & pray that I am the same for you. Amen!