Have you had some Salsa today? Benefits of onions and tomatoes in your diet.
Onions and tomatoes are among the most commonly used vegetables in many parts of the world today. We use them because they taste good and give good consistency to our food. We use them as sauces and salsas, chutneys and pickles, and important ingredients in our main dishes, but are you aware of the beneficial nutrients that lie hidden in these foods?
Lycopene- have you had your tomato today?
What is Lycopene? Lycopene is found in tomatoes and other red fruit. It is a bright red carotenoid and is a powerful antioxidant.
How does it help you? Antioxidants are very useful to the body as they repair damaged cells and aid the immune system.
Lycopene has also been licensed as a food coloring. It is not water-soluble which also makes it useful for non-food items. It is especially effective on plastic, only bleach destroys Lycopene dye on this medium.
Lycopene is found mainly in tomatoes, but can also be found in rosehip, guava, pink grapefruit and watermelon. It depends in what form you take tomatoes as to the amount of Lycopene your body will be able to absorb. Cooking tomatoes enables you to absorb more than if they are raw. For example a raw tomato will give you 8mg but one serving of tomato juice 22.9 mg. Spaghetti sauce will give you 20mg per serving. Heat is the factor that enables the Lycopene in tomatoes to be absorbed into your body.
Onions are good for your diet because- they contain many chemicals that can help the immune system and aid the body fight against disease. Research has shown that different varieties are more potent than others. For example shallots (a small variety in the onion family), western yellow and New York Bold are higher in phenolic and flavoniod content. This means they have a higher concentrate of anti toxins. It was generally found that stronger onions have the most flavoniods
It is not surprising that onions are the 2nd largest crop grown throughout the world today. They are fairly easy to grow and can be grown in a wide variety of climates. They can even be grown in containers for home use. In cold weather you can grow early spring onions and shallots when the weather gets warm you can let the onions mature into full sized onions for pungent flavorings and delicious chutneys. Their value has been known since ancient times. They have been and still are an important addition to every cook’s kitchen.
So next time you are ready to enjoy your favorite meal do not forget the Salsa. Or if you do not want the Mexican look try some good old fashioned ketchup or some tart little pickled onions. However you eat these versatile vegetables you can be sure that you will be improving your health and vitality when you do so.