This month we celebrated Valentine’s Day, and while that’s really just a chocolate, Hallmark Holiday, let’s talk about keeping your real heart healthy. Most folks have heard that tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful anti-oxidant that can protect against degenerative diseases. It can prevent damage in cells and help them function better. High levels of lycopene in your system can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease & macular degeneration.
The is one super food that actually gets better with cooking. They lose a bit of their vitamin C, but the lycopene is much more available for the body to use & the antioxidants aren’t diminished by cooking.
I tend to look at study’s done with a bit of skepticism, but it’s hard to argue with the positive health effects of tomatoes. However, in order to gain these benefits, you have have a consistent diet of super foods. Ketchup on your fries at the Friday night fish fry isn’t a healthy source for a serving a tomatoes. Shoot for 10 good servings a week of tomatoes to protect your body against cancer, promote eye health and keep your heart strong by lowering your LDL cholesterol.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
- 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes, stems removed
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile (stems, ribs, seeds removed), less or more to taste
- Juice of one lime
- Chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of dried oregano (crumble in your fingers before adding), more to taste
- Pinch of ground cumin, more to taste
1 Start by roughly chopping the tomatoes, chiles, and onions. Be very careful while handling the chile peppers. If you can, avoid touching the cut peppers with your hands. (I often use disposable gloves or hold the peppers with a plastic sandwich bag.) Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn’t hot enough, you can add a few for more heat.
2 Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse only a few times, just enough to finely dice the ingredients, not enough to purée. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely dice by hand.
3 Place in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add a little more ground cumin.
Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.