"Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe may have spun a healthy yarn about the virtues of stubborn independence, but as far as tomato recipes, thats not one wed recommend. But we do love to cook with juicy, ripe, red tomatoes, and our menu suggestion for today is tomato surprise.
Whats the surprise? Well, for a long time weve told you that tomatoes (loaded with lycopene) boost heart health, help protect your vision, may lower the risk of some cancers and offer protection against brittle bones and the harmful effects of the sun. Now we can add a nice surprise to that list: Confirmation that tomatoes and their stores of lycopene lower the risk of all arterial diseases, especially stroke. Seems they reduce bad LDL cholesterol (a half-cup serving of tomato sauce every day can lower LDL as much as statins) and slash overall inflammation. So Roma, cherry, beefsteak or grape, canned whole or pureed, or even in a soup or paste tomatoes are a must-have in your shopping cart.
And for a serious value-add, have your tomatoes cooked. That increases the amount of bioavailable lycopene and makes it easier for your body to absorb it. When tomatoes bubble up, they double down on goodness.
Other food sources of lycopene: papaya, watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava. So have a glass of pink grapefruit juice with a fruit salad of guava, papaya and watermelon, followed by a thick marinara sauce over 100 percent whole-grain pasta, and watch your RealAge get a whole lot younger.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.