Green Medicine

People don’t usually think of vegetables as a remedy. But they can be.

Of course, we know that veggies are supposed to be good for us, while some of us cook different varieties because we like the way they taste. But do we really understand that eating vegetables can keep us out of the doctor’s office?

It’s time we learned.

SO, WHAT’S SO HEALTHY ABOUT GREEN TOMATOES?

I’m glad you asked. It turns out that green tomatoes offer an abundance of a medicine-like substance called Lycopene, an antioxidant. Put simply, antioxidants help protect our cells. Do you live in an environment where there is a lot of smoke, exhaust or pollution? Any of those can negatively affect the cells in our bodies, but the Lycopene in green tomatoes can act as a suit of armor around those cells. A protected cell is a strong and happy cell – with a much lower chance of developing an ailment.

A TOMATO DOES ALL THAT?

It does more. Take vitamins for example. Doctors like to remind us of the importance of special vitamins – like vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient – meaning if our bodies don’t get enough of it, we will almost certainly become weak and/or depressed. Wounds will also heal more slowly. None of this is a quality way to live. Green tomatoes have a high amount of Vitamin C. For example, one palm-sized green tomato has about 29 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is half of the vitamin C an adult needs every day!

HYDRATE WITH GREEN TOMATOES

Something else that’s important to note is that green tomatoes (actually all tomatoes) are made up of about 95% water. And water is good for us, though hardly anyone drinks enough of it. By eating tomatoes, you’re increasing your water intake. Just think of it as super-water, naturally filled with all kinds of minerals, proteins, amino acids and fiber.

WHAT ELSE IS IN IT?

Green tomatoes have all sorts of other benefits, yet in smaller amounts – but if you eat them regularly, those amounts add up. You will also get Vitamin K, which ensures strong blood clotting, Beta Carotene to protect you from developing serious eye problems, and Calcium to strengthen fragile bones which can crack or break with one tiny fall if you don’t have enough of the mineral in your system.

MY FAMILY’S HEALTH CHALLENGES ARE GENETIC. WILL GREEN TOMATOES HELP?

It’s good to remind ourselves that a family history of health issues doesn’t mean we will have the same issues. And if we make a point of keeping vegetables within reach every day, we are taking our health into our own hands. This will go a long way toward ensuring that we don’t deal with the same illness that might run in our family. If there is one thing we should learn about vegetables, it is that vegetables are able to treat common health problems.

ORIGINAL REMEDY FROM A FARM

Historically, all things that grow on land are the original medicine. Our ancestors knew it – no matter what part of the world they came from. When someone was sick, a family member or friend would go to the woods or fields to dig or cut a cure. Today, with backyard gardens and small-scale urban farms, we don’t have to go nearly as far. Armed with the knowledge provided to us by those who came before us, we have the power to take control of our own health. And why wouldn’t we? Life matters. That includes our own.

THE BOTTOM LINE OF GREEN TOMATOES

Feeling low on energy, a little sad, or notice that the tiny cut on your finger is taking forever to heal? Go to your neighborhood farmers market and spend a few dollars on a pound of green tomatoes. Watch your doctor visits become less frequent and your mood, level of energy and overall health improve.

MORE INFORMATION ON FOOD AS MEDICINE

The idea of veggies as medicine is slowly becoming a nation-wide practice. To learn more about eating fresh produce to improve health or to see what’s happening in other communities, read the following articles:

Food as Medicine: Why Doctors are Prescribing a Trip to the Farmers Market

Doctors Prescribe Fruits and Vegetables Instead of Pills

HOW SEEDS OF HOPE FARM CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE BETTER HEALTH

To begin your journey of health with Seeds of Hope Farm, click here. You will be taken to a page that will tell you how to purchase a weekly farm box of vegetables through our reduced-price program!

If you have any questions about the program or need more information, contact Jennifer Loui, Farm Apprentice Outreach Assistant, via jloui@caastlc.org.

This program is funded 77% at $128,051 by federal funds and 23% at $38,249 by nongovernmental sources for a total amount of $166,300. The federal funds are received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division.

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