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Tips for the Tomato Crisis

A salmonella-tainted tomato outbreak began in mid-April, and was centered mostly in New Mexico and Texas. Now it has made about 300 people sick across 28 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S. Officials are still unsure why it’s happened or where it came from.

The FDA has warned consumers to avoid eating raw red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes and products containing them, unless they come from areas that are listed on its website. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and those sold with the vine have been deemed safe to eat.

The timing couldn’t be worst since we are just now entering prime tomato season. So, if you want to play it extra safe and avoid tomatoes altogether until things blow over, where can you match the nutritional benefits that come with our favorite fruit that is mistaken for a vegetable?

There are plenty of nutrients found in tomatoes, but its highest potency comes in the form of vitamins C, A and K. That’s not even mentioning its secret weapon – lycopene.

Tomato growers, and even ketchup sellers, have played up lycopene and its proposed antioxidant properties, which could help fight cancer. While this conclusion is not totally conclusive at this point, it doesn’t hurt to have it in your diet. The most obvious lycopene substitute in lieu of tomatoes is watermelon. That’s not even mentioning that it also has a healthy amount of vitamins C and A, which you would lose in not eating tomatoes.

If it’s other antioxidant sources you want, there are many. Beans (red, black, pinto, kidney), blueberries, and even coffee and certain teas are good sources.