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The One Thing You Really Want To See In The Red

The versatility of tomatoes is unending.. Their value is superlative and most of us eat them often as they taste so good!.There are so many ways to use them – fresh, raw in salad, cooked in a stew, canned, as a sauce to pour over a food, tomato purée, paste and even drink as a juice. Did you know that there are over 10,000 varieties?  Fortunately they are low on the Glycemic index, even the sweet tasting ones,  so do not disrupt blood sugar levels.  Some people with stomach problems find them  too acidic.. Fresh tomatoes have a pH of around 4.3-4.9.(7 is neutral)  Tomato products are even lower. The good news it they leave an alkaline ash in the body so count as an alkaline food.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of carotene, biotin, vitamin C and K. They also have Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folic acid, and dietary fiber.  They have received much attention because of their rich lycopene content, a red carotene, an antioxidant. The redder the tomato the higher the lycopene content. There is a higher percentage of lycopene in tomato paste, purée and juice than in a fresh tomato!  The processing releases more lycopene from the plant cells and therefore it is absorbed better than from a raw tomato. Eating lycopene with an oil or oily food gives best absorption. So continue to have your raw tomatoes sprinkled with olive oil

Lycopene has shown to be extremely protective against cancer, especially breast, colon, lung, skin and prostate. It also appears to lower the risk of heart disease,  cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Their powerful anti-oxidant characteristics show that tomatoes reduce inflammation which most degenerative diseases progress from. Diabetes is an inflammatory state. Tomatoes are good for blood sugar control as they have a low carbohydrate content but without  losing the sweetness.

A less common factor that people know is that tomatoes contain a small amount of melatonin.  

A less common factor that people know is that tomatoes contain a small amount of melatonin.  This hormone is also known as the sleep hormone . It can help regulate our circadian rhythm. This has been proved in the tomato plant as those grown in some shade has as much as 135% more melatonin than those grown in full sunlight. There is too little melatonin in tomatoes to act as a sleep aid but it all helps. Melatonin is useful as  a powerful antioxidant, that can cross the blood brain barrier.
A friend gave me a whole basket of her home-grown tomatoes off the vine. I could not eat all of them in salads before they would get mushy and mouldy. i made some Marina sauce which was absolutely delicious and was wonderful to have all ready in the fridge to pour over whatever I was eating. I froze some too! So although it is really simple it is worth doing. It helps with time-management to come home,  make a dish and have some marina sauce as hand.


  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 8 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine  (or water)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar or more to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook slowly for about 15 mins. Add the tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes are softened, about 30 mins.

Stir in the red wine, honey, herbs and seasoning, except the vinegar. Bring to a simmer again and cook for about     another 30 mins until the herbs have flavored the sauce.

Stir balsamic vinegar into the sauce. If sauce is too thin then simmer for longer without a lid.

Use to pour over rice, quinoa, pasta, meat, chicken, any vegetables. Or just use a little to stir into some food that needs “dressing up”!

There are lots of recipes on the internet so you may prefer another one. I like this one as it is simple, uses many herbs. A way to skin  tomatoes is to put them in a bowl of boiling water,  for about 1 minute or two.  Slit the side to pierce the skin and they should peel easily

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