The more color, the more nutrients!

From book: Eating on the Wild Side
By Jo Robinson

Tomatoes: Here is what you need to know. 

“Raw tomatoes are good for you but cooked tomatoes are akin to medicine. “
Cooking develops the lycopene.  Just 30 minutes of cooking doubles lycopene.

I know you want to know how to choose the right tomatoes as it is the season, & I will get to that.  Meanwhile, some really good news:

CANNED TOMATO PRODUCTS ARE VERY NUTRITIOUS, ESPECIALLY TOMATO PASTE.   So, in a couple of weeks when all these amazing local tomatoes are gone, it’s o.k.   Why do tomatoes taste so great & make everything they touch taste great?  MSG!   Yes, it’s naturally in them & it affects all the flavors it combines with.   It’s in other vegetables too.

How to choose fresh tomatoes:

  • The redder the better & the smaller the better.  Gold & green are fun for variety & color, not for nutrition.
  • Those ‘on the vine ‘ tomatoes you see in the market are not much different from the ‘fake’ tomatoes you don’t want to buy.  It’s misleading advertising.
  • Cooking concentrates flavor & makes nutrients more available.   Skins & seeds have huge nutrient benefits, so keep them.
  • Add small amounts of tomato to other dishes where you might not think of it to add great flavor & get that MSG kick!   Most chefs know this.   I always add a little fresh tomato sauce to my Francese Sauce for chicken even though it’s not suggested.  It just bumps it up.


  • They relax & widen blood vessels, called the ‘veggie viagra’, hmmm.
  • Leaves have more anti oxidants than the root.
  • Root is good source of folate, potassium & fiber.
  • Beets positively affect:  cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity & digestive tract issues.   Betalin, the compound that effects health in beet greens, reduces blood pressure.   It’s one of the healthiest greens!
  • Choosing beets: darkest color is best.
  • Beet juice is great for sedentary people.  In just a few days of eating beets, your stamina will increase.
  • Canned beets actually have MORE antioxidants!
  • Greens are best eaten within 2 days.
  • Roots increase in nutrition if you steam, microwave or roast them.  Cook w/skins on.

Sweet Potatoes:

  • Belong to the morning glory family.  Much lower glycemic index than white potatoes.
  • They have more antioxidants than the whites & cook in half the time.
  • Deeper the color, the more antioxidants & skin is VERY nutritious.


  • Cooked carrots are more nutritious & have more of the cancer fighting compound falcarinol.
  • The outer part of the carrot is the most nutritious, so those ‘baby carrots’ are less nutritious as they have shaved it all off…..what do they DO with all those carrot shavings?
  • Eat carrots with fat as beta carotene is a fat soluble nutrient… you know why they taste so good with Hummus!
  • Purple Carrots: drink the juice to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose & chronic inflammation.  The more purple, the better for you.
  • Storage: keep away from fruits & veggies that produce gases.  They store well & long if they are away from apples, etc.


  • Best way to cook: steam it, microwave it in their husks, 3-4 min. per ear.
  • Frozen corn is good, microwave to retain  nutrients.
  • Choosing: most colorful is best.   White corn, not so much.
  • Our current varieties are like eating a Milky Way bar, but to quote a good friend…..”So?”  They are just one of the better things in life, like Milky Way Bars!