Tomatoes are a summertime garden staple for many. In fact, many who plant tomatoes in their garden end up with more tomatoes than they can eat. (Sound like a familiar story?) Little do most know that tomatoes are a top superfood. One reason that tomatoes are a super food is because they fight against free radicals in the body.
You might be wondering “what are free radicals?” Free radicals are atoms that do not have a full valence shell of electrons. In other words, these atoms are unstable and are dependent on other atoms or molecules as a result. So, when free radicals are present in the body, they seek other atoms or molecules to attach to. Free radicals in the body are usually oxygen molecules. This process of “atom dependency” is referred to as oxidative stress. In short, oxidative stress is taxing on the body. (1)
Oxidative stress can lead to adverse alterations in our lipids, proteins, DNA, really anything and everything that makes up our body. Further, oxidative stress can trigger several illnesses and diseases. Did I mention that oxidative stress contributes to signs of aging? (2)
So, how can we combat free radicals?
Free radicals are naturally occurring. With this, it is important to balance them with antioxidants to allow for proper physiological function. As the name suggests, antioxidants prohibit oxidation or transferring of electrons between atoms. Guess what? Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants!
It gets better though! Research shows that cherry tomatoes have the highest contents of antioxidants. Getting your antioxidant fix is as easy as popping some cherry tomatoes in your mouth—no need to bother with the mess of cutting anything up!
So next time you’re out in the garden, make sure to eat a handful of cherry tomatoes.
Or, grab some on the way out the door for a snack. Toss some on top of your salad. Eat some after a class to replenish. Just make sure you get them in your diet! (3)
In summary, tomatoes are the perfect combination of convenience and health—what more could we ask for!
You say to-MAY-to, I say to-MAH-to,
MPS and Central Core