Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Rich in the antioxidant lycopene, along with vitamins C and A, tomatoes are a PCOS superfood. This time of year is the perfect time to enjoy tomatoes! Here’s some great health benefits of tomatoes for PCOS and easy ways to incorporate tomatoes into your end of summer meals.

Growing up in an Italian household, summer wasn’t complete until the tomatoes were ripe for picking. All season long tomatoes received as much attention as members of the family. Watering, gardening, and chasing squirrels away was a big part of summer days. When it was time to harvest, these home grown tomatoes were used in everything from sauce to pies. My favorite tomato recipe is my father’s tomato salad which incorporates a variety of fresh seasonal vegetables and Mediterranean flavors. I share the recipe below so you too can enjoy this salad in your home. It’s perfect for summer barbecues and picnics.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes for PCOS

Let’s clear up something first: Tomatoes are technically classified as a fruit, not a vegetable. Americans eat between 22- 24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year, making it the most popular produce item around. There are over 500 varieties of tomatoes grown in the United States in various shades of red, pink, green, orange, purple and white.

What makes tomatoes so special is that they are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with potential heart protective effects. Lycopene, along with vitamin C and beta carotene, makes tomatoes a PCOS superfood. Just one medium sized-tomato provides over a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, and nearly a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. In addition, tomatoes have a high water content, are rich in fiber, and low in calories. Just a few more reasons to enjoy this summer favorite.

Simple Ways to Incorporate Tomatoes 

Saute into an omelet or frittata

Add to your favorite sandwich, burger, or salad

Add to summer or winter soups

Top a few slices onto pizza

Use fresh tomatoes to make a simple marinara sauce

Make homemade salsa

Enjoy as a salad with other summer fresh veggies, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar

Tips For Picking the Best Tomatoes

Choose tomatoes with a firm and shiny flesh that yields slightly to gentle pressure.

For the freshest tomatoes, look for vine-ripened ones or those marked “locally grown.”

Store tomatoes at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator.

Enjoy tomatoes within four or five days of picking or purchasing.

Tomago salad pcos

Nonno’s Tomato Salad

A summer favorite in our Italian household, this simple salad is a classic Mediterranean side dish. Recipe from The PCOS Nutrition Center Cookbook: 100 Easy and Delicious Whole Food Recipes to Beat PCOS.

Serves 4

2 cups thinly sliced tomatoes (about 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup chopped red onion

½ cup chopped green pepper

¼ cup good extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

pcos cookbook

Place tomatoes in a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add onion, green pepper, olive oil, and vinegar. Mix well and enjoy.

Tip

  • Add some fresh mozzarella to make this salad a light meal.

pcos dietitian angela grassiAngela Grassi, MS, RDN, LDN, is the founder of The PCOS Nutrition Center, for which she has been providing evidence-based nutrition information and coaching to people with PCOS for over 20 years. Angela is the author of several books on PCOS, including PCOS: The Dietitian’s Guide, The PCOS Workbook: Your Guide to Complete Physical and Emotional Health, and The PCOS Nutrition Center Cookbook. Angela is the past recipient of The Outstanding Nutrition Entrepreneur Award, The Award in Excellence in Practice in Women’s Health, and The Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Having PCOS herself, Angela has been dedicated to advocacy, education, and research of the syndrome. Click here to schedule a session with Angela to learn more about how nutrition coaching for PCOS can help you!

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