Give Him the Best Gift for Father’s Day—Good Health!

by Sharon Palmer, RD

Wondering what to give the man in your life for Father’s Day?  Why not give him the gift of good health!  Include more tomato products in his diet this year for heart health, as well as prostate cancer prevention.

Heart Health:

Tomatoes have an arsenal of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can protect him from heart disease—the number one killer in the U.S.  A growing body of evidence indicates that if he eats more tomato products it can protect his heart in a number of ways.  The antioxidant nutrients in tomatoes fend off oxidative stress and chronic inflammation that can lead to heart disease, as well as other chronic diseases.  Tomato products also contain anti-platelet compounds that inhibit platelet aggregation, which may help prevent coronary vascular disease.  Another heart-health benefit of tomato products is their good influence on blood lipids.  A tomato-rich diet can increase “good” cholesterol levels by more than 15% and decrease “bad” cholesterol levels by about 13%, according to research.  In addition, potassium-rich tomato products have shown benefits in reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension.  So paint his plate red to protect that ticker!

Prostate Health:

Dish up more tomato products to protect him from prostate cancer.  A number of studies have documented how tomato products—in particular tomato’s antioxidant lycopene—can protect against prostate cancer.  People with a high intake of cooked tomato products experienced a 19% reduced risk of prostate cancer, according to a recent study.  The landmark report from the American Institute for Cancer Research, The Second Expert Report – Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, notes that there is a substantial amount of evidence on tomato products, and that food containing lycopene probably does protect against cancer.  Tomatoes are so promising in the fight against prostate cancer that the National Institutes of Health recently awarded a $400,000 grant to the University of Illinois to trace how tomato nutrients help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in humans.

Tomato Products All Year Long

Include more tomato products in his diet all year long by encouraging these healthy habits:

  • Sipping on tomato juice for breakfast.
  • Enjoying tomato soup for lunch with a sandwich.
  • Including pasta with tomato sauce on the menu each week.
  • Feasting on delicious Latin foods such as salsa, enchiladas, and tacos.
  • Cuddling up to comfort foods featuring tomato products, such as meatballs in tomato sauce, lasagna, Swiss steak, and stuffed green peppers.
  • Turning on the crockpot to simmer chili, stew, and soups featuring canned tomatoes.
  • Making homemade, healthy pizzas with pizza sauce, reduced fat cheese, and loads of veggies.

A Tomato Feast for Father’s Day:

Try this delicious recipe for a Father’s Day cookout that he’ll love!

Tuscan Tomato Turkey Burgers                   Prep time: 20 minutes     Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

Say bye bye to the boring, high-calorie burgers of summer. These decadent yet healthy burgers will soon be your new summertime favorite! Serve with orzo pasta salad.      


  • 1 (20-oz.) package 99% fat-free ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup snipped basil
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices rustic whole grain bread
  • 3/4 cup warmed marinara sauce, plus additional for table
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix turkey, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, basil, Parmesan, garlic and red pepper in a medium bowl until well blended.Shape into 4 flat patties. Cook on a well-oiled grill over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and top each burger with equal amounts of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese; cook for 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and burgers are cooked through. Grill bread slices for about 1 minute on each side or until lightly crisped. Toss arugula with olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Place arugula onto toasted bread and top with burgers. Serve with additional warmed marinara sauce, if you like. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 310, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 560mg, Potassium: 289mg, Carbohydrates: 19g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 43g, Vitamin A: 15%, Vitamin C: 10%, Calcium: 20%, Iron: 20%

Sharon Palmer, RD