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The Antioxidant Rainbow: Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

baked stuffed tomatoes

The best way to get a healthy range of antioxidants is to eat fruits and vegetables representing all colors of the rainbow. Antioxidants, natural chemicals found in plants, help protect the body from free radicals, compounds formed naturally in the body that damage tissues and may contribute to a variety of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Each color contains different antioxidants, try this easy tomato recipe tonight!
A sprinkle of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil transform tomatoes into the perfect side dish. Or try sandwiching them between slices of your favorite whole-wheat country bread.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Per serving : 91 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 4 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 375 mg Sodium; 363 mg Potassium

Key Ingredient Benefits

Olive Oil: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.

Parmesan Cheese: This cheese is a good source of calcium. One ounce of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese has about the same amount of calcium as a glass of whole milk. Also, since Parmesan cheese is so flavorful and satisfying, you can substitute a few sprinkles of Parmesan for cheddar or mozzarella.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of the flavonoid antioxidant, lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may offer protection from skin damage and skin cancer. Another flavonoid abundant in tomatoes is Zeaxanthin, which helps prevent age related macular disease (ARMD). This fruit, which is often thought of as a vegetable, is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

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