1) Cancer fighting power: Lycopene is the key antioxidant in tomatoes that helps reduce the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer.
2) Heart protective effect: The nutrients in tomatoes help lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and reduce platelet stickiness.
3) Cool the burn: Eating fresh tomatoes regularly helps reduce the degree of sunburn and the number of UV-related skin tumors.
4) Sauce it up! Cooking tomatoes in olive oil concentrate the lycopene and improve its absorption so more is available to fight cancer and heart disease.
5) Take 2: Research has shown that just two servings of tomato sauce each week significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Since the breast and prostate contain similar fatty tissue, what’s good for one is often good for the other!
One of the best ways to get the health benefits of tomatoes is Gazpacho, the chilled Spanish tomato soup. I think this is THE BEST Gazpacho recipe ever!
No, I didn’t create it because I didn’t have to: Heidi Krahling, chef and owner of Insalata’s in San Anselmo, California did it for us! Purchase her cookbook here.
By Heidi Krahling
Chef and owner of Insalata’s, San Anselmo, California
The secret to the vibrant red color of this chilled tomato soup is the addition of a bit of cooked fresh red beet. And the secret to its lusciousness is adding fruity extra virgin olive oil. This chilled soup is a pitch-perfect balance of salt, acidity and olive, resulting in optimal fullness of flavor.
10 (about 4 pounds) vine-ripened tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped; juices reserved
1 English Cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1(about 2 oz.) small red beet, cooked, peeled and diced
½ red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fruity extra virgin olive oil
fruity extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
avocado chunks, for garnish
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato juices, cucumber, garlic, bell pepper, beet, red onion, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper; using your hands, crush the ingredients a bit to macerate for at least 4 hours and up to all night. In the bowl of a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary, puree the tomato mixture until very smooth. Blend in the oil until just incorporated. Pass the tomato mixture through a large-holed sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and sherry vinegar. Ladle into warm bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of oil and chunks of avocado; serve immediately.
If you’re in a rush, you can purchase a jar of fire-roasted red peppers ready to use.