Heart Healthy Summer Eating
By Sharon Palmer, RD
Don’t let summer bog you down with high-fat, high-sodium cooking. Celebrate the flavors of summer with a light, heart-healthy eating style by including more tomato products in your favorite summer dishes.
Tomato products can protect your heart in a number of ways:
- Tomato products arsenal of nutrients including vitamin C, fiber, and potassium have heart-protective power.
- Tomato products are rich in carotenoids, plant pigments found naturally in tomatoes. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that inactivate free radicals and slow the progression of heart disease. The most important carotenoid in tomato products is lycopene, which works in harmony with other tomato nutrients to protect the heart. Lycopene is most available to your body in the form of processed tomato products.
- Tomato products reduce oxidative stress, a major contributor to the development of heart disease.
- Tomato products have been linked with lower levels of inflammation, which is at the root of heart disease.
- Tomato products produce anti-platelet compounds, which can aid in the prevention of heart disease.
- Some studies have found that tomato products reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels.
- Tomato products may reduce blood pressure.
You might not realize it, but tomato products are often fresher than fresh, as they are picked at their nutritional peak and preserved within hours of harvest. They make a perfect addition for summertime menus. Economical and easily stored in the pantry for long periods, tomato products make a simple resource for easy, breezy summer meals. Try tomato products as a simple, healthy addition to your favorite summer dishes, in marinades, sauces, side dishes, pasta dishes, salads, dips and appetizers.
Check out this delicious summer recipe for Tomato and White Bean Bruschetta on a Grilled Baguette at http://tomatowellness.com/recipes/8