You Say Tomato, We Do Too

The world’s favorite vegetable (or is it a fruit?) shines from kitchen to table to total body benefits.

By
Jenna Bell, PhD, RD

At Sensei Farms, we grow foods with a purpose. Every bite brought to life using sustainable methods designed to preserve natural resources. We curate cultivars for taste and nutrition. Produce is picked just in time and delivered locally, bringing you freshness that lasts longer when you get home.

Here’s a look at our fan favorites: tomatoes.

Tomato on the Table

Flavor, form and function. The most popular non-starchy vegetable, this member of the nightshade family promotes health with extreme versatility. From raw to roasted, tomatoes can be enjoyed as a stand-alone snack or to complement any dish needing a blend of acid, tartness, savory and sweet.

Gastronomes (fancy for, food-lovers) enjoy tomatoes across the globe. Think of the Mediterranean’s beloved Gazpacho soup and Caprese; Eastern Europe’s Domates dolmasi; Latin America’s Pico De Gallo; or Asia’s simple egg and tomato stir fry. Each American consumes an average of 65 pounds per year in cooked and canned, and over 20 pounds of fresh tomatoes annually. While the seasons affect the quality (bland-winter-tomato) and availability from other traditional farms, Sensei Farms can grow and harvest year-round, regardless of season or weather.

Tomato Wellness

Tomatoes have an impressive array of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K and folate are the most notable in quantity. But there’s more… phytonutrients. Here are the key compounds:  

  • Lycopene: Lycopene has antioxidant properties and may help thwart inflammation associated with chronic disease, including heart disease and cancer.  Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives vegetables and fruits their red color with the most potent source being tomato.  Rely on real foods for lycopene since the benefits are synergistic with other nutrients.  Dietary fat can help with absorption so dress your tomatoes with oil-based salad dressing or sautéed or blend with cooking oil.
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin: These two carotenoids impart yellow to reddish hues and work hand in hand to reduce oxidative stress (protects your cells from damage) which also reduces the body’s inflammatory response (associated with disease development). The benefits extend from head to toe with promotion of cognitive improvements, mental acuity, visual health, heart health and has been associated with lower risk for cancer and degenerative diseases.

Tomato Time

Tomato? Anytime.

  • Breakfast: Add tomatoes or this Tomato Salsa to your next quiche or let them shine in a nutrient dense omelet.
  • Lunch: Sliced Beefsteak tomatoes top off your favorite panini or sandwich; drizzle olive oil on slices of tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto. Or, prepare a simple Gazpacho instead.  
  • Snack: Dip cherry tomatoes in hummus and add whole grain pita for a plant-based protein snack. You can also drizzle with a zesty Herbed Shallot Vinaigrette.
  • Dinner: Toss mini plum tomatoes (and other veggies), seasoning and avocado oil – then roast.  This dish is delish on its own, as a side dish or a colorful accoutrement atop steamed rice or other grain.  

The proof is in the pudding. Or the salad? The salsa? Gazpacho? For more “proof,” visit our recipe section.