Tomatoes are starting to ripen in the UK at the moment and it’s a great time to get local produce if you live near a farmer’s market.
Tomatoes are excellent sources of Vitamins A and C. They’re also a key dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene which gives them their beautiful red colour. These nutrients have been linked to various health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Processed tomato products like tomato puree and tomato ketchup contain high levels of lycopene, but take care to check labels as some of these products contain a lot of sugar.
The nutrient lycopene may prevent wrinkles and protect against sunburn. One study showed that people who ate 40 grams of tomato paste a day for 10 weeks had significantly less sunburn than the control group!
It can be helpful to ensure you eat tomatoes alongside an oil such as olive oil, as this can increase the absorption of lycopene.
Some people with sensitive digestions find that nightshades can aggravate their condition, so take care if you have digestive problems. Otherwise, this fruit is a wonderful addition to a summer salad.
Do you love tomatoes? Our Nutrition Lead Helen Cooke does too! Come to see her in Bristol now!