Celebrate Dad with Health-Protective Tomatoes!
By Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™
The weather is warming up and Father’s Day is just around the corner—both serve as a perfect excuse to throw a family BBQ, potluck, or picnic. And no summertime picnic or BBQ would be the same without the use of tomato products. Whether it’s chips and salsa, smoky baked beans, marinated meats, or ketchup on your burger—tomato products are a must-have on your picnic shopping list.
Recent research indicates an even better excuse to include tomato products in your meals. Researchers found that people who added two ½ cup servings per day of canned tomatoes, sauce or paste in to their usual diet for six weeks had increased lycopene levels in their body. The antioxidant lycopene found in tomato products help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress we typically associate with aging, pollution, smoking, and exercise. Ultimately, this means that tomato products can be just as healthy as they are delicious.
And if you want to add another holiday to the mix this month, June 10th is National Spice Day. Spices are a great compliment to the anti-inflammatory benefits of tomato products. Not only are they naturally void of sodium, sugar, and fat, spices also punch up foods’ appeal, keep it from spoiling, and exhibit health-promoting properties. It’s important to keep in mind that spices—like all plant foods—are no “silver bullet” to cure diseases, but they can certainly help you boost your diet with disease-fighting compounds. So, enjoy this recipe below—packed with the health benefits of herbs, spices, and canned tomatoes.
Dad’s Tomato Dip
Speaking of classic combinations, tomatoes and avocado certainly is a perfect pairing. It’s always so nice to have a few recipes in your back pocket when you need to bring a dish to a summer gathering. This recipe is foolproof and dads everywhere will love it.
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn (either frozen or fresh)
2 avocados, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 scallions, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
- Whisk dressing ingredients in a large bowl, add remaining salad ingredients (minus the avocado) and toss.
- Add chopped avocado just before serving.
Note: This tastes better the longer you let it sit. If making ahead of time, cover and store in the fridge.
Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. Her second book, Plant-Powered For Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, will be in stores summer of 2014.