Without limes, world history would look much different. Because before the British learned to stock their ships with the vitamin C rich fruit (that warded off scurvy), their sailors would perish long before reaching the New World. Limes in essence enabled Britain to keep their bones healthy, reach and heavily influence – for better or worse, depending who you talk to – all corners of the globe.
Without corn proffered by Mexico, the U.S. would have a radically different economy, as the golden grain is the crop that converts the energy of the sun most quickly and efficiently into consumable forms. Corn and all it’s countless forms is literally in every aisle of your supermarket, and so much more.
What unseen but profound effects have tomatoes had? Lots. Considered a symbol of the Mediterranean, they actually derive from South America. The Mexicans are believed to be the first culture to use them in food, and that is where they were first exported to Europe from, via the Spanish sometime around 1493.
Since then tomatoes have been a staple product, especially with Mediterranean peoples who have wowed the world with their cuisine – and managed to live long and stay lean while doing so.
Granted, ubiquitous olive oil must get some of the credit for its heart healthy polyphenol properties. But what is it locked within this red fruit that sets it apart from so many?
Your Body Likes Lycopene
Lycopene, a chemical in the carotenoid family, has been linked to many of the tomatoes’ health benefits. It gives the fruit their distinctive rouge. A recent study of 70 postmenopausal women showed a positive correlation with lycopene and obesity prevention. (1) The women stayed on a tomato rich diet (containing at least 25 mg of lycopene per day) for 10 weeks.
The result? A nine percent increase in levels of the hormone adiponectin. Very helpful as it regulates blood levels of sugar and fat.
This result provides a clue to the mystery of how Mediterraneans stay slim while enjoying a cafe lifestyle, usually far from gymnasiums. However, possibly even more intriguing is the effect a diet high in tomatoes may have on cancer.
Could A Tomato a Day Keep Cancer Away?
Tomatoes will help to increase your levels of adiponectin which means lesser blood levels of sugar and fat – thus reduced chance of obesity, which is associated with breast cancer risk.
But that’s not where tomatoes’ power over cancer ends. Lycopene is super high in antioxidants, which fight cancer by eliminating free radicals that damage DNA. And if that weren’t enough, a good ol’ lycopene rich marinara sauce will help you to reduce your level of unhealthy LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to cancers of the prostate, lung, breast, and stomach.
Being Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Most health advice usually involves giving up something you love: like hamburgers, or pressing snooze on the alarm one more time (instead of hitting the gym).
Today however, we’ve had the pleasure of offering an easy to do effective tip that can radically affect the quality of your life. Simply add more tomatoes to your diet and while you cook with them, imagine the sound of the age old Mediterranean Sea…
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