You say tomato, we say “Yes please”
It’s British Tomato Fortnight from the 20th May 2019- celebrating our glorious British Tomatoes- containing vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and natural pigments, these humble superfoods are a tasty and natural snack which, not only taste great, but are also extremely good for you!
Why buy British tomatoes? Four out of five tomatoes now eaten in the UK are imported, which is not good news for the British tomato grower. Julie Woolley, of the British Tomato Growers’ Association, explains…. ‘Protected from the elements in their greenhouse and nurtured by our growers, British Tomatoes are bursting with flavour. However, buying British isn’t just about supporting local growers it’s about buying the freshest and tastiest tomatoes available and the range is superb! It’s useful to know, the redder the tomato when it is picked the higher the lycopene content, so British tomatoes are picked ripe and in the stores within a couple of days. Imported fruit has a longer journey so often ripens on the journey and not on the vine.’
Lycopene helps fight cancer… ‘According to studies, tomatoes contain large amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, that is effective in lowering the risk of cancer, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers. In order to enjoy a larger increase in lycopene, cook the tomatoes or opt for processed versions such as tomato juice, sauce, soup and puree,’- Barny Chappell, Consultant Urological Surgeon.
Tomatoes have a number of other health benefits Dominique Ludwig, Nutritional Therapist, based at The Boxgrove Wellbeing Centre explains ‘botanically a fruit, they are still mostly classed as a vegetable! They are a rich source of lycopene, beta carotene and lutein which are powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants, believed to defend our body cells from aging and damage, reduce inflammation, be cardio protective, support liver function and research has shown that lutein can protect the eyes and may slow down macular degeneration associated with aging.
They contain prebiotic fibres, feeding the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system and helping with normal bowel movements. Pectin, a soluble fibre found in tomatoes is believed to bind to toxins as well as cholesterol as they pass through the gut, helping to remove them from the body.’
In short, tomatoes with their cherry red colour are a powerhouse of antioxidants and fibre which can benefit the digestive health and are of great benefit to the diet.’