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Eat Red -- Starring the Delicious and Nutritious Tomato

You may have heard how healthy it is to eat as many "colors" as possible or suddenly had a huge craving for dark green broccoli or really orange carrot juice or even yellow squash and wondered why.  The most likely reason is that each color fruit, vegetable and even grain features different power-packed nutrients beneath and within their peels, skins, hulls and leaves, and eating as many colors as possible helps our bodies thrive.

Nature has its own rainbow coding just for our nutritional and health benefits.

It's the phytochemicals in the fruits, veggies and grains that do the trick.  Pytochemicals are what make up the color and flavor of plants, and studies are showing that these active compounds work to keep our bodies healthy by warding off serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Color of the Month is Red . . . Eat Red!

One of our favorites among the popular red foods is the tomato!  The reds are divided into two categories.  Tomatoes, watermelon, guava and pink grapefruit contain cancer-fighting lycopenes, while strawberries, red raspberries and beets help with blood pressure and circulation.

So let's talk tomato!

The real red deal.  In addition to boasting beneficial amounts of iron, potassium, phosphorous, folic acid, beta-carotene and vitamins C, B, E and A, tomatoes are chock full of lycopene, the pigment (phytochemical) that gives tomatoes their vibrant red coloring. Lycopene is a potent antioxident, which means that it neutralizes free radicals (loose canon cells) that get in the way of normal cell functioning and growth and can lead to cancer, heart disease and even premature aging. As supported by many studies and the FDA, tomatoes are a major player when it comes to fighting a variety of cancers.

Both fresh and cooked tomatoes provide healthy benefits, although lycopene may be more readily used by your body when it's cooked and processed. Yes, that means spaghetti lovers rejoice.  That sauce is good for you!  Using olive oil to cook tomatoes or add flavor also helps make the lycopene more easily used by the body.

Now, let's talk more tomato with some fun and important facts:

  • Against popular belief, the tomato is a fruit not a vegetable.  It's a member of the "nightshade" family that includes potatoes, tomatillos, red peppers, and eggplants. That said, tomatoes are the state vegetable of New Jersey and the state vegetable and state fruit in Arkansas.
  • In Ohio, the “official state beverage” is tomato juice.
  • The Aztecs, Incas and other natives of the Americas were eating tomatoes at least as far back as 700 A.D. They were brought back to Europe by explorers in the 1600s and were welcomed with open arms in the Mediterranean.
  • Today in the U.S., tomatoes are eaten more than any other fruit or vegetable.
  • The French nicknamed tomatoes the “apple of love.”  And Italians are unique when it comes to the official name:  pomodoro.  Other European languages use a word close to tomato --  tomate in French, German and Spanish; tomat in Danish; and tomaat in Dutch.
  • There are thousands of different types of tomatoes.
  • You can easily grow tomato plants from seeds but if you want to save time, plants and seedlings are readily available at nurseries.  Tomatoes need plenty of sun and water with good drainage to grow well.  Don't have space? They'll even thrive in pots on balconies.
  • China is the largest producer of tomatoes, behind the U.S. and Turkey.
  • Keep your vine-ripened tomatoes out of the fridge if you want them to keep their fabulous flavor.  Only if your tomatoes are cut or partially eaten should they be kept cool.
  • Tomatoes that are ready to buy or pick should have smooth skin that doesn't scrunch when you rub it.  They should feel heavy for their size and be slightly soft when squeezed. If cut open, the skin should be somewhat thick, and they should be juicy, meat and full of seeds on the inside.

Here's a fun tomato recipe (recently published in Real Simple magazine).  Note: we substituted fresh tomatoes for a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes.

Halibut With Spicy Squash and Tomatoes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
4 6-ounce pieces skinless halibut fillet

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the squash, garlic, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes (and their liquid if you go with the canned tomatoes).

Season the halibut with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nestle it in the vegetables. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the halibut is opaque throughout and beginning to flake, 10 to 12 minutes.

Yes, eating as many “colors” as possible helps our bodies thrive.

In case you're curious about the other colors, stay tuned in upcoming newsletters.  And, don't fret if you can get all the colors covered in your diet every week, supplement with a high potency, high quality, broad-spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral such as EnergyFirst VitaEnergy Mega Plus ACE.

Our Story

Our Story

EnergyFirst, a leading company in the all-natural protein and supplement industry, was founded in 1997. We, at EnergyFirst, believe that everyone can benefit from drinking a protein shake whether the goal is optimal nutrition in a meal replacement, an easy and healthy breakfast alternative, a weight loss aid, or a protein supplement for athletes. We also believe that your protein shake should be 100% natural and delicious. Nutritionist, educator, athlete, and EnergyFirst's CEO, Gerry Morton is committed to providing customers with all natural, science-based, effective products for optimal nutrition, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle.

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If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, simply return the unused portion for a full refund." Learn More

Gerry Morton,
President & CEO

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