Foods Fit for Summer – Tomatoes

tomatoes on the vineClassic summer foods include everything from ballpark hot dogs to ice cream cones, but one seasonal item not to be overlooked is the juicy garden tomato—and that season is here.

Don’t miss the chance to eat and cook with a variety of fresh tomatoes from a farm stand near you. They’re filled with health benefits and fit for feasting. Try our easy breakfast recipe, too!

The Beauty of Summer Tomatoes

In the next few editions, we’ll be featuring healthy foods that are in season this summer. This week we’re looking at the superfood powerhouse, tomatoes.
Maybe you’ve heard of the debate over whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. When it comes to health and fitness, it really doesn’t matter which side of the garden you land on—this fruit/vegetable is the perfect model of cancer-fighting superfood. That’s because tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant phytochemical that also helps prevent heart disease and helps ward off a number of other ailments.

But the nutrition doesn’t stop there. Not only are tomatoes a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, they are low in calories and carbs, and have no fat. Here’s an overview:

  • Lycopene: Protects cells from destructive molecules known as free radicals, which harm cells and damage DNA. Cooking tomatoes with the skin delivers lycopene in the most effective way, but it is also present in processed fresh tomatoes such as juice or puree. Cook tomatoes with a bit of olive oil to help carry the lycopene into the bloodstream.
  • Vitamin A: Boosts the immune system, protects against heart disease and supports healthy vision by strengthening mucus membranes. A cup of chopped tomatoes provides more than 50% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A for women, a little less than that for men.
  • Vitamin C: Helps protect against heart disease, cancer, aging and more. One large tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C required for an adult. Because much of the vitamin C is contained in the liquid around the seeds, a juicy sliced tomato, seeds and all, will give you a big boost.
  • Vitamin K: Feed your bones with the vitamin K in tomatoes, which also plays a role in healthy clotting of blood. While deficiencies are rare, one study has found that low vitamin K levels could be linked to higher incidence of arthritis of the knees and hands. Tomatoes are a delicious way to add to your vitamin K intake.

What About Nightshades?

Tomatoes, like peppers and eggplants, are a member of the nightshade family of plants. Some people might be sensitive to them, and others have concluded that they might contribute to inflammation symptoms like arthritis or high blood pressure. There’s no formal study that has connected tomatoes to high inflammation levels, but still, some diet plans recommend avoiding nightshades for this reason.

For those who love them, here’s a super quick recipe that helps you start your day with near perfect egg protein and delicious, nutritious tomatoes.

Egg and Tomato Breakfast Wrap


  • 4 fresh plum tomatoes, cored
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • Dash of chili powder and/or crushed red pepper
  • Dash of onion powder
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 whole grain wraps


Pulse tomatoes in blender until a smooth puree. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium heat and add tomatoes and spices. Cook 7 – 8 minutes to reduce water and thicken. While cooking, beat eggs in a bowl then add to pan. Cook another 5 – 6 minutes until firm. Spoon egg mixture into the wraps and you’re ready to go!

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