The color of tomatoes always amazes me. Burning red absolutely relates to the image of summer. Natural pigment of tomatoes is just so inspiring.
I guess the most basic and simple concept of yakuzen/medicinal food living is that we should eat ingredients in season. As you can guess from tomatoes’ color, yes, tomatoes are one of the summer vegetables. Also, I think it is so nice that tomatoes are easy to consume and are available anywhere.
In present days, most vegetables including tomatoes are greenhouse-grown; however, the best season for tomatoes is between May and September. When we eat ingredients in seasons, we can get full benefits from them.
Tomatoes make us happy as they have lower calorie but are rich in nutrition that can help us keep the elastic skin, prevents constipation, and more! Tomatoes are very women-friendly ingredients! So, what tomatoes bring us?
Let’s start with general nutrition in tomatoes.
Vitamin C, B6, E, fiber, potassium, carotene (vitamin A), folic acid, citric acid, iron, phosphorus, and lycopene are some of nutrition that tomatoes give us.
Vitamin A: Builds up skin and mucous membrane and prevents infectious disease, such as cold or flu.
Vitamin C: Fights against stress and infectious disease. Build up collagen which is an essential element to make our skin beautiful.
Vitamin E: Effective in anti-aging and prevents fat from getting oxidized.
Potassium: Encourage to excrete excess sodium from the body system.
Fiber: Tomatoes have soluble fiber that works for constipation.
Iron: Essential element to produce hemoglobin
Calcium: Build up bones and teeth
Citric acid: Effective in recovering from fatigue
Lycopene: Red pigment of tomatoes. I was curious about this "lycopene" and wanted to dig a little bit deeper.
Lycopene & Beautiful Skin
So, here, my curiosity brings me to research about lecopene which is tomatoes' specialty that proudly relates to the color.
Red is the color of tomatoes come from organically lycopene.
Lycopene is one of carotenoids that is the family of carotene. Very ripe red tomatoes contain plentiful lycopene. Of course, cherry tomatoes contain lycopene and I like the idea that cherry tomatoes have more lycopene than regular tomatoes as they have more skins where lycopene is found wrapped around fruits.
Lycopene holds a strong antioxidant that works for anti-allergy property. My mother always says, “We should eat tomatoes as it is. Bite tomatoes as it is with skin.” Eating tomatoes with ingredients containing vitamin E brings an ability of anti-oxidant!
Especially in summer, our skin would be exposed under the sun and ultraviolet, and this activity produces harmful free radical that might cause freckles or skin disease. Here, lycopene comes along to play a significant role to fight back and reduce free radical on our skins.
As a woman, it is so great that vitamin C in tomatoes revitalizes, brightens the skin, and produce collagen! Decrease in collagen loses elasticity on the skin which opens up the pores. Vitamin C in tomatoes is just so amazing as it enhances its anti-oxidative potency by combining protein such as dairy products, eggs, and meat!
Also, lycopene is easily dissolved with oil and is absorbed perfectly with oil, especially olive oil. Eating raw tomatoes is the greatest way to consume but heated tomatoes are beneficial, as well. When tomatoes are heated, nutrition except vitamin C in tomatoes are not broken while those of other vegetables are broken.
Taste: Sour, Sweet
(Partial Reference: Wikipedia)
In terms of yakuzen/medicinal food, be aware, though, that tomatoes belong to the group of ingredients that makes our body cool down. So, don’t eat too much at a time but moderate intake must be the key.
By the way, do you have a green thumb? I do not, unfortunately, but I had tried so many times before and remembered that tomatoes were the easiest ones to let them grow with less care. I think I should try to engage with gardening someday. If you have a green thumb, give me some tips to be a successful gardener, please?