Why you should eat tomatoes

Caprese salad

We’re all guilty of being curious about things. We want to know how someone else manages to do certain things in their life. If it’s a celebrity everything is out there, even if we don’t care the information is there.

I am certainly guilty of reading about a certain celebrity’s diet and workout (among other things). I mean if I eat and workout the way my favorite model or actress does I’ll end up looking just as good as them, right? If only. Recently every media outlet jumped on the opportunity to report what Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen eat. He’s athletic and she’s one of the top models in the world so of course I am guilty of taking a peek.

What surprised me (maybe not completely though) was the misguided nutritional information. They avoid tomatoes (and other nightshades) because they are inflammatory. Nightshades include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant. They also only cook with coconut oil, which has become a popular trend lately, but where does that leave olive oil?

I wanted to debunk some of the myths about the diets of Tom Brady and Gisele.

Nightshades are not inflammatory

In fact, nightshades are quite the opposite. Nightshades contain anti-inflammatory properties. Tomatoes, for example, contain lycopene, querecetin, and beta carotene. All of which are highly researched anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Nightshades are only inflammatory if you can not digest a compound in them. This means that your body is not responding well to nightshades, not that nightshades are inflammatory. Anytime you can not digest something in your body then it is inflammatory to your body. If you can not digest kale, tomatoes, apples, etc. then all of those are inflammatory to you, not to everyone in the world.

Nightshades contain solanine, which people can be sensitive to

Solanine seems to be the chemical that some people do not respond well to. Because a cleanse tries to eliminate all possible sensitivities, and does always take the individual into account, they often reccommend removing nightshades from the diet, which can make some people feel better.

There is a downside to over restriction though. When told to eliminate dairy, gluten, legumes, grains, and nightshades because they are inflammatory, fish due to mercury, red meat, eggs, chicken, etc. what exactly are you left with. Basically green juice. Of course every diet/cleanse is different with what it eliminates, but there is so much conflicting information about every type of food out there that it sometimes seems like we should not eat anything. So how are we supposed to know what to eat?

I want to clarify that everyone is different, but plant-based foods are not inflammatory, but they may be inflammatory if you can not digest them. If that’s the case try fixing your gut microbome before deciding to eliminating all types of food forever.

Tomatoes can be part of a healthy diet

Tomatoes have so many anti-inflammatory and nutritional benefits.

  • A 2013 study at Tehran University showed that tomato juice reduced systemic inflammation in overweight and obese females. The researchers concluded the study be stating that “increasing intake of tomatoes may provide a useful approach for reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are associated with diabetes.”
  • A 2015 study reported in the journal Inflammation showed that tomatine (the solanine in tomatoes) had potent anti-inflammatory properties. It showed that it significantly suppressed inflammatory cytokines. The researchers concluded that “tomatine may be a valuable therapeutic agent in the treatment of inflammation-related diseases.”
  • Another 2015 study, researchers found that tomato juice reduced inflammation, weight, cholesterol, and waist circumference in healthy females.
  • Tomato paste has been found to protect against UVA/UVB damage. In this highly published study, researchers concluded that tomato paste provided protection against acute and potentially long-term aspects of photo damage. Photo damage is another term for inflammation.

Looking at all of these studies, they conclude that tomatoes are anti-inflammatory, and may help with inflammatory diseases, weight, cholesterol, and sun protection.

The thing is if you do not feel good eating tomatoes or feel better eliminating them, then of course do what works best for you. Make your decision based upon how you personally feel digesting them, not because a celebrity decided to eliminate them.

Regarding my beloved olive oil, good quality olive oil is key. Always choose extra virgin, and store properly. Studies have shown that olive oil safe for cooking. A study has shown that olive oil loses its integrity only after being cooked for 24 hours. I don’t plan on cooking with any oil for that long of a time frame.

Feel confident with tomatoes and olive oil. Bring on the Italian food!

Craving something with tomatoes now try my Avocado Caprese Salad or Mediterranean Baked Feta


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