Summertime in Michigan brings us some beautiful and colorful fruits and vegetables. Particularly in the months of August & September we see an abundant amount of heirloom tomatoes. Coming in all shapes and sizes, heirloom tomatoes are a staple in Michigan family tradition and bring us many health promoting benefits.
Heirloom tomatoes, or heritage tomatoes, are said to have been around for more than 50 years, passed down from generation to generation by open pollination. This makes them unique from other hybrid and GMO tomatoes as they maintain their original characteristics, carry family tradition and when grown organically hold abundant nutrient value.
Heirloom tomatoes are well known for their unique colors and different shapes and sizes. You may have seen red, yellow, green, or even orange heirlooms in your Doorganics delivery over the past few weeks. Uniqueness is a great way to recognize the Heirloom tomato over a hybrid. Because the heirloom tomatoes are so individually unique, unlike the hybrid tomatoes, which are crossbred specifically for certain characteristics, each of them carries a unique set of health benefits. Also unlike many hybrids, heirlooms are picked at the peak of their ripeness, which creates optimal nutritional value.
Heirloom tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin C and Vitamin A. An heirloom tomato can provide up to 40% of your daily intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps support your immune system, supports the adrenals, modulates stress, protects the heart and more. Many of us know of Vitamin C as the cold or flu fighter. Adding heirloom tomatoes into your diet may just be a key to keeping these illnesses away.
Along with Vitamin C and Vitamin A, the dark, rich colors of heirloom tomatoes make them rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect the skin from sun damage and help to keep us looking young longer, among many other benefits. Heirloom tomatoes are also packed full of a certain antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene has been shown in research to possibly reduce the chance of getting some types of cancer, including prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
Other benefits include cardiovascular protection due to their potassium content and bone building through Vitamin K.
Choosing to use organically grown Heirloom tomatoes over commercial hybrids or genetically modified tomatoes guarantees that you will be eating a food high in many health-promoting nutrients, that carries along with it a long history and tradition.
Tomatoes can be used in many recipes, but here is one of my favorites for you vegans out there:
Using the bread of your choice, add:
1 teaspoon Vegenaise
Leafy green of your choice (spinach, romaine, kale)
2-3 slices of heirloom tomato
2 strips tempeh bacon (cooked to your liking)
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