Saturday, September 29, 2007

Healthy Harvest with Dr. Matt - Tomatoes

Tomatoes are in the peak of their season.
Although they are now available year round in grocery stores throughout the world, we can now enjoy the local vine ripened varieties that will be the most flavorful and nutritious. Nothing adds flavor to your favorite salad or sandwich like a juicy, red, vine-ripened tomato.
Like I always say, purchase local organic tomatoes if you want the best quality, nutrients, and flavor.

Nutritional Value

One cup of tomatoes contains 57% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C, 22% DV for vitamin A and 11% DV for potassium. But that's not all. Tomatoes are also a great source of carotenoid phytonutrients, such as beta-carotene and lycopene. And all of this for only 38 calories.

Health Benefits

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, which help prevent both cancer and heart disease due to its antioxidant function. It has been found to help protect cells and other structures in the body from free radical damage and has been linked to the protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells.
21 studies confirmed that eating tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes, provides protection against prostate cancer. Researchers credit not only lycopene but a variety of other protective phytonutrients found in tomatoes that work together to provide protection against prostate cancer.
Vitamins A and C also provide antioxidant protection against free radicals while potassium, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate provide protection against atherosclerosis and heart disease.
So get out to those local farmers markets, find yourself a basket of these tasty health enhancers, and enjoy!

Recipe of the Week

Crab Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

¼ cup Lump Crabmeat
½ tsp chili sauce
½ tsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 scallions (finely chopped)
1 tbs fresh chives
40 cherry tomatoes (Appx.)

In a mixing bowl, combine the crab meat, chili sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, scallions and herbs.
Mix well.
Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Using a serrated knife, cut a very thin slice from the stem end of each tomato.
Carefully scoop out pulp and seeds with the tip of a teaspoon.
Lightly sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with salt.
Invert them on paper towels and let them drain for about 15 minutes.
Using a small spoon, stuff the tomatoes with the crab, mounding the filling slightly on top.
Serve cold.