You Say Tomato, I Say Organic!

by Sue Taggart

Of all the fruits and vegetables that benefit from being organic, tomatoes are probably top of the list. Recent evidence suggests that organic tomatoes can have as much as 79-97% more of two healthful flavonoids than conventionally grown tomatoes—not to mention how great they taste!

The antioxidants found in many colorful fruits and vegetables help to protect your heart, and tomatoes are no exception. Studies indicate that people with low levels of lycopene in their bodies may be more likely to suffer from heart disease. Lycopene may decrease inflammation and reduce LDL cholesterol, both of which may help keep your heart healthier. According to the American Cancer Society, there is also strong evidence that lycopene-rich foods may help protect against lung and stomach cancer, as well as other types of cancer. A Harvard study conducted in 1995 showed men who ate a lot of tomatoes appeared to have a lower risk of prostate cancer. This effect is largely attributed to lycopene.

However, some studies suggest a synergistic effect of the vitamins also found in tomatoes. Lycopene is actually related chemically to vitamin A, which is also found in tomatoes along with vitamin C and potassium.

Unlike other fruits and vegetables, where nutritional content such as vitamin C is diminished upon cooking processing of tomatoes increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene. Lycopene in tomato paste is four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. For this reason, tomato sauce is a preferable source as opposed to raw tomatoes. This easy and super tasty Tomato Sauce recipe is a healthy, delicious way to get lycopene into your diet.

Serves 6-8:

1/3 c              olive oil

2 c                  yellow onions, diced

3 tsp              minced garlic

2 cans 28 oz. organic crushed tomatoes- MuirGlen* is a favorite of mine

3/4 c              fresh parsley, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp         sugar- adjust the amount to suit your taste

1-2 tsp           crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté onions over a medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

*All of Muir Glen’s tomatoes are field grown and vine ripened under certified organic practices — no synthetic pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, just gorgeous tomato taste, true to nature. Visit

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