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Food Facts and Cooking Tips: Tomatoes

Even though tomatoes are technically a fruit, because they contain little sugar and are more savory than sweet, they are included in the vegetable category in the SHAPE Nutrition Protocol. You can use fresh or canned tomatoes, depending on the recipe.

Some interesting facts about tomatoes:

  • Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, along with bell peppers, eggplant and potatoes.

  • There are over 1000 different varieties.

  • Historically, tomatoes were thought to be poisonous, so people grew them as ornamental plants.

  • Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin C and vitamin K

  • Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to protect against several types of cancer, prevent heart disease and lower risk of eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. The redder the tomato, the higher the lycopene content.

  • As with all fruits and vegetables, organic tomatoes will be higher in nutrients than conventionally-grown.

Always store tomatoes at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. If you must refrigerate them, place in the warmest section of the fridge (typically the door).

Fresh tomatoes taste best when picked directly from the vine. Fortunately, tomatoes are relatively easy to grow in a home garden. Read this article for tips and tricks on growing your own tomatoes.

Here are some of our favorite SHAPE-Certified recipes using tomatoes:

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