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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Tomatoes are Still Yummy by Any Other Name

Sweet, juicy and a little tangy, bright red tomatoes are a favorite addition to any meal or make an excellent sandwich all by themselves. Homegrown tomatoes are delicious, especially when they are fully ripened on the vine, and this is the time of year when they abound.

Besides tasting so good, tomatoes are good for you, too. Tomatoes contain more than 90 percent water and a lot of citric acid, which is alkaline to the body if eaten without starches or additional sugars. Tomatoes can help stimulate the liver function as a filter for toxic wastes and as long as the tomatoes are eaten raw and are especially effective in reducing liver inflammation due to hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Tomatoes are very fragile when they are fully ripe, so most commercial tomatoes are picked and shipped green and then artificially ripened in ethylene gas chambers. This is another reason to grow your own or be sure that you purchase only vine-ripened tomatoes. Some tomatoes are grown hydroponically, but you may notice that they tend to lack the great flavor of garden-grown tomatoes.

Tomatoes add flavor and color to many raw and cooked recipes, as well as juices and smoothies. Fresh, raw tomatoes contain some protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese. The tomato is a member of the nightshade family, but most people can tolerate it quite well. However, a person that has an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or digestive issues, the tomato can cause problems including joint pain and acid reflux.

Cooked or canned tomatoes have a lot of their nutrients destroyed in the heating process, and rather than being alkaline they become acidic to the body. Tomatoes do have the potential to interfere with calcium metabolism, so it is good to not consume large quantities on a regular basis. Raw, green tomatoes contain a toxin known as solanine, and the acids in them can be detrimental to the body.

Most of us think of a tomato as a vegetable, but botanically it is a fruit, and can actually be classified as a berry, because it is pulpy and contains seeds that are not stones. As a result of a tariff dispute in 1893, when an importer stated that tomato was a fruit and not a vegetable so it was not subject to a vegetable import tax, the U.S. Supreme Court officially proclaimed it a vegetable, and to this day more people think of it as a vegetable than a fruit.

This easy-to-prepare soup will add variety and great flavor to your diet, so have fun trying one of my favorites. Serve it cold or at room temperature.

Italian Tomato Vegetable Soup

1 red bell pepper 3 cups very ripe tomatoes 2 stalks celery 1 cup peeled cucumber 2 large cloves garlic 1 cup alkaline water 2 tsp Himalayan salt 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice Pinch or two cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients in the VitaMix until very creamy. You can serve the soup just like this or if you like a chunky soup just add some diced vegetables. If you are in a hurry, just drink it like a smoothie.

½ cup diced tomato ½ cup diced celery ½ cup diced zucchini ½ cup diced green onion

Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of The Living Foods Institute, in Atlanta, offering Healthy Lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing and anti-aging, including a therapy spa offering treatments to help detoxify, nourish and relax the body. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 1-800-844-9876 and visit LivingFoodsInstitute.com. See ad, inside front cover.

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