Monday February 11, 2013
Tomatoes, basil, and olive oil aren’t just the building blocks of delicious Italian cuisine — they’re also the perfect combination of ingredients if you’re looking to lose weight and eat healthier. How exciting is that? Here’s a look at how each of these superfoods can benefit your body.
Tomatoes. Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a phytonutrient and antioxidant. Lycopene has been proven to protect against a whole slew of cancers, including colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic…and it has heart-protective qualities as well! While fresh tomatoes are wonderful for your health, cooked tomatoes, such as those in tomato sauce or even ketchup, actually contain more lycopene than their fresh counterparts.
Olive oil. Not all fats are bad: This monounsaturated oil can be a cornerstone of healthy eating — and can also help you lose weight. Studies have shown that people who follow an olive-oil-rich Mediterranean-style diet have a lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, asthma, and atherosclerosis — and may actually cut their risk of death in half. Be sure though if you are cooking with olive oil that you are not cooking it on a high heat. If you cook olive oil on a high heat changes the balance and actually makes the oil rancid.
Basil. This pungent herb is rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and C and flavonoids, which can help protect your cells from damage and improve your heart health. It can also inhibit bacterial growth — including dangerous strains of bacteria like staphylococcus.
So go ahead and serve a generous portion of tomato sauce with your favorite organic meat — or, even occasionally, whole-grain pasta. It’ll be a delicious way to get some key nutrients that will improve your health. By eating delicious, nutritious and wholesome foods to propel you toward a leaner figure, a healthier lifestyle, and an all-around better way of life.