The Big Red Beauty Food

The NHANES study  found that women who had diets high in vitamin C  had  fewer lines and wrinkles.  Good to know, but  what  does that mean  in terms of real food?   I started to look into vitamin C rich foods, and discovered that tomatoes  offered a great nutritional package.  In the US, over half of our daily vitamin C intake is from tomatoes.  In addition to being essential for the formation of wrinkle- busting  collagen, vitamin C is also a  uber anti-oxidant that  protects against aging free radicals.  And the benefits don’t stop there. From the  tiny cherry tomatoes to the giant beefsteak, tomatoes are packed with potassium, beta carotene and disease protecting lutein and lycopene.  Even the skin of a tomato is  super rich in quercetin, a much studied anti-aging anti-oxidant.   And what’s really awsome, every form of  a tomato  is rich in nutrients.   Raw tomatoes  are rich in vitamin c and  beta carotene.  Tomato soups and sauces are bursting  with even  higher levels in lycopene and lutein. 

I have focused on the beauty benefits of foods, but I can’t ignore the  health benefits of tomatoes.  They are a  major component of the Mediterranean diet and many experts  believe that tomaotes play an important role in the studies  which show the Med diet  lowers risk of heart disease  and cancer.  Other well designed studies have shown that tomatoes reduce risk of prostate and pancreatic cancers.   And one final fact–  combining  tomaotes with a little olive oil  helps the body better absorb its nutrients.  I can almost   make the case for pizza as a health food.  Almost.

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