Tomayto, Tomahto? Ketchup or Catsup??

Heirloom tomato on to vine from last year's crop.
"Raw, unsulphered dried, or prepared into homemade sauces or soups – the health benefits of tomatoes are well-documented. Once tomatoes have been cooked, they provide far more absorbable lycopene than raw tomatoes; one cup of tomato sauce contains about ten times the lycopene as a cup of raw, chopped tomatoes. A variety of raw and cooked tomatoes is wise, and cooked tomato products, like tomato sauce and ketchup, are rich sources of lycopene."

The quote above is an excerpt from Dr. Joel Fuhrman's recent newsletter.

No matter how you pronounce it, these tasty members of the solanaceae family (think eggplant, capsicum, potatoes) are good for you heart and more!! Here's more from the good Doc:


Previous tomato harvest from the garden. Fingers crossed for a bumper crop this year!!

Tomatoes protect against heart attack and stroke

Carotenoids are a family of over six hundred phytochemicals (including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin) that help to defend the body’s tissues against oxidative damage, which is a natural byproduct of our metabolic processes. Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to chronic diseases and aging. 

Lycopene is an extremely potent antioxidant. Health benefits of lycopene include:

  • Lycopene is found circulating in the blood and also concentrates in the male reproductive system and has protective effects against prostate cancer.
  • In the skin, lycopene helps to prevent UV damage from the sun, protecting against skin cancer.
  • A 2004 analysis from the Physicians' Health Study data found a 39% decrease in stroke risk in men with the highest blood levels of lycopene.
  • A study in men found that low serum lycopene was associated with increased plaque in the carotid artery and triple the risk of cardiovascular events compared to higher levels.
  • In a separate study, women were split into four groups (quartiles) according to their blood lycopene levels; women in the top three quartiles were 50% less likely to have cardiovascular disease compared to the lowest quartile.
  • Lower total carotenoids, alpha-carotene, and lycopene in the blood were all linked to increased risk of death from all causes; of all the carotenoids, very low blood lycopene was the strongest predictor of mortality.
Lycopene is the signature carotenoid of the tomato.  85 percent of the lycopene in the American diet is derived from tomatoes.

But beware!! The salt and sugar contained in commercially prepared tomato products render them little more than junk food. In fact, over one-quarter of a typical bottle of ketchup is actually corn syrup or sugar."   
Which is why Dr. Fuhrman developed and added a "Ketchup" product to his lineup of "ready-to-eat".
Dr. Fuhrman's Ketchup 
We were fortunate to have the doc send us a trial jar of this product to sample, along with some AWESOME!! vinegar. BUT it just so happens I have my own recipe for ketchup which I actually gave to Dr. JF and sometimes wonder if this is my recipe in the bottle, hmmmm...
Anyway, the doc's email prompted me to share not only his words about the health benefits of tomato products  my recipe for homemade ketchup to boot! Give it a try or order some ketchup for your veggie burgers from drfuhrman.com. If you do order, don't forget to try the vinegar!! My favorite is the spicy pecan, but they are all delicious!

Ketchup

Ingredients:
·         6 oz. tomato paste (no salt added)
·         ¼ cup water
·         1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
·         5 Dates
·         1 tsp. Garlic powder
·         1 tsp. Onion powder
·         1/8 tsp. Allspice
·         1/8 tsp. Cloves
·         1/8 tsp. Cinnamon

Method:
Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth. Ketchup will last for 5 – 7 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Sláinte!


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