Looking for a heart-healthy fruit? Think tomato! This fruit, which many consider to be a vegetable due to its lack of sweetness, is a seasonal staple. Chopped in salads, diced with salsa, sliced with fresh buffalo mozzarella, pureed for gazpacho or eaten fresh off the vine, a ripe tomato in summertime is a delicious and healthful treat.

Tomatoes are:

  • Low in calories.
  • Excellent source of vitamin C, and also provide a good amount of vitamins A and K, potassium, manganese and fiber.
  • A source of lycopene - researchers have linked lycopene (a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their color) with a lowered risk of heart disease as well as being helpful in lowering high cholesterol.

To get the full health benefits of tomatoes, remember that carotenoids are fat-soluble and are better absorbed when eaten lightly cooked and paired with healthy, monounsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil or avocado.

Homemade Salsa Recipe

I enjoy tomatoes in a fresh, homemade salsa. Besides finding firm ripe tomatoes and seeding them, the key to this salsa is adding plenty of lime juice and salt, and not skimping on the chiles. Because without a burst of acidity and heat, you're just eating chopped tomatoes.

Ingredients:

1½ tomatoes (about 2-3 medium), seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped white onion
1 small fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, finely chopped, including seeds, or more to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
½ teaspoon fine salt, or 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation:

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with additional chile, lime juice, and salt.

This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to one day. Before you serve it, stir it well and drain any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bowl.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

Recipe from Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez with JJ Goode, (C) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Article from Dr. Weil's Heart Health Newsletter

Join the conversation
Please Login
Email:
Password:
What do you think?