We’re not far from the end of ITV’s Eat Them to Defeat Them Campaign, which means you have a fair few superpowers under your belt. But it’s not over yet, there are two weeks left!
This week we’re seeing how to make sure our memories are sharp so we can remember where we parked our batmobile…?
Sometimes you’ll have to rely on your memory to think back to where you’ve left your shoes or your coat. Ensuring you have the best memory means you can get up and out the door at lightning speed!
Lycopene is a carotenoid, which is the natural pigment that gives certain fruit and veg its vibrant red colour. The properties of lycopene have been linked to preventing memory loss in age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. By getting regular quantities of this strong antioxidant, you’re taking steps to protect your body against certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
Not only this, but the antioxidant appears to be good for skin health too as it offers some protection against sun damage. But remember, it’s not a replacement for sun-cream which is really important for keeping your skin safe.
Tomatoes also contain the carotenoid, beta-carotene, which has been found to make you more attractive! A group of people were given either a 12-week dose of beta-carotene or a placebo, and the results showed that the group with the supplement were better looking due to the enhanced yellow and red colouring in their faces.
Take on the tomatoes
Generally, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it has. Interestingly, cooked and processed tomato products are higher in lycopene, so eating a mix of these and fresh whole tomatoes whenever possible will ensure you get all the goodness from these juicy vegetables.
From Public Health England research in 2014, tomatoes were in the top 10 contributors of veg intake in adults and children. It’s not a surprise that this versatile veg is so popular, they’re tasty and tangy, adding lots of flavour to some of our favourite dishes.
Tomatoes are low in carbs, with 95% of the food made up from water content. Even so, there’s plenty of room for goodness in them, as they are a brilliant source of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.
Grow your own
Try growing your own tomatoes. There are many sizes to choose, even from the smallest cherry types.
1. You can sow seeds in small pots from late March to early April if they are being grown outdoors. Alternatively, if you will be growing in a greenhouse environment, you can sow seeds from late February to mid-March.
2. When the first flowers begin to open, move the plants into larger pots, a growing bag or plant outside approximately 45cm apart. If they’re going outdoors, they should be ‘hardened off’ to ease the transition by slowly helping them to acclimatise to the weather.
3. There are two growing habits of tomatoes. Cordon grow tall and will require support from a vertical cane and side shoots should be removed regularly. Bush tomatoes don’t need support or removal of side shoots – these grow well in hanging baskets.
4. Water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.
5. When the fruit is ripe and fully coloured, they can be picked.
Cooking with tomatoes
Tomatoes that are processed with high heat contain more lycopene in a form that is easier for the body to use compared to raw tomatoes. However, in the heating process, other essential nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E can be destroyed.
Whether we roast them slowly, or make a cooked sauce, the plant cell walls are broken down which allows us to absorb the lycopene easier.
For some inspiration on how to incorporate tomatoes into more meals, here’s a handy recipe card that will get you your fix of tangy tomato.
By now you will have nearly all the super abilities – you’re strong and smart with super-skin and super-speed. There’s one power left for you to get, so don’t stop now. Join us one final time next week to see the last skill.
Don’t forget to print off the veg tracker for this week and keep tallying up the numbers of all the veg that you’ve been eating. It’s nearly time to find out your grand total and declare you a Veg Vanquisher.
Let me know how you’ve been getting on through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #vegpower #eatthemtodefeatthem.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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