We are having a very “fruity” war in Bangkok with durians, watermelons and tomatoes. For those of you who wonder what I’m talking about, here’s a bit of background. The anti-government protestors in Bangkok are “Red Shirts” as they all wore red to protest. The soldiers are green on the outside but we have some who internally take sides, hence the “watermelon.” They are those who sympathize with the reds.
The “durians” are those who sympathize with the yellow shirts. The “yellow shirts” are protestors who came out against Thaksin (Red Shirt Leader) a few years ago and closed our Bangkok airport. (What a disaster that was)
Finally, we have the “Tomatoes.” (Yes, they are a fruit, and not a vegetable.) “Tomatoes” are those who are completely red, both inside and outside! Juicy red tomatoes.
Isn’t it so funny to be describing peoples’ political views by fruits? I wonder if this would happen elsewhere. We Thais do like to adopt code names and symbols.
Anyways, to get to point, I wanted to talk about “Tomatoes” today and why you should eat them! The benefits? According to nutritiondata.com 1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes (which I love to eat as a snack) are only 27 calories with only 2 calories from fat. It is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese. It also is a good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Copper. It is a VERY good source of dietary Fiber. It is low in Sodium and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol.
In addition, I have also read that tomatoes are high in Lycopene which is responsible for the red pigment in fruits and vegetables. Lycopene supposedly is an anti-oxidant that can help fight against cancerous cells in our body and free radicals. Our bodies does not produce Lycopene naturally (not an “essential nutrient”) so we have to eat them in. They have been attributed to lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and even male infertility.
Although most research conducted have not proved conclusive, from my own experience, I think they are a great fruit and a great snack to have especially when you are on a weight-loss diet. When I was in college, I remember being addicted to them. I would buy those grape-vine cherry tomatoes at the supermarket and snack on them while studying. I ate so much of them that after a month or so I remember friends commenting on my skin. It seemed to make my skin and complexion brighter!
Then, 2 years ago a good friend of mine told me about a documentary she watched on TV about tomatoes. They conducted an experiment where they had a group of people eat a spoon or two of tomato paste everyday for a few months. After that, to prove that it helped prevent sunburn, they would actually put out cigarettes out on their arm! (Now, DON’T take my word for it and try it on your own.. VERY dangerous) I don’t dare try it myself.
My good friend and I experimented by drinking 100% tomato juice for a few weeks before we went on a beach holiday and “think” that it helped prevent us from getting sunburn. I “think” because I am not sure if it was the benefit of my sunblock or if it was just all psychological.
I have to mention, that in my search for concrete scientific evidence, there is currently no conclusive evidence as to the health benefits of tomatoes. The US FDA says that the health claims does not meet “significant scientific agreement.” Perhaps there are other compounds in tomatoes that are yet to be discovered. 🙂 Who knows?
Anyways, if you believe they are beneficial for you, eat them whole and digest them 🙂 Finish up all the tomatoes you have as they are very beneficial for your health and do not deserve to be left lying around to take up space. Make sure you get your friends to eat them too! We don’t want all those tomatoes going to waste!
(Am I showing some political preference? Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat tomatoes but not the human ones. I think the human ones will have a bitter aftertaste. Just looking at them will make you ill. I am currently suffering from tomato overdose in Bangkok and think I must soon find an escape. )