Here on the East Coast, there is a small window where cucumber season meets tomato season. In those few weeks, us East Coasters rejoice in veggie heaven. The two were meant to mingle, table-side, with a fine bottle of olive oil and vinegar.
Together, the duo brings more than just the joys of Christmas colors to a white bowl. They also present a slew of vitamins and nutrients. In fact, tomatoes are one of the healthiest veggies (or fruit, by the technical definition) you can bring to your table, and we can attribute much of this to the noteworthy nutrient explained below.
- Loaded in lycopene: Tomatoes can thank lycopene for their beautiful red color, and we can thank lycopene for the cancer-fighting benefits it brings to our body. Lycopene is an antioxidant that lends yellow, red, and orange vegetables/fruits their colors, and has shown in studies to lower the risk of certain types of cancer (especially prostate, lung, and stomach cancers). As Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, explains, “The shape of the lycopene molecule makes it very effective in being able to quench free radicals. We don’t really understand it entirely yet, but lycopene may have specific properties that protect the cell in a way other antioxidants may not.”