Healthy Drinks

This Strawberry ‘Hydration Smoothie’ Is a Super Source of Longevity-Boosting Lycopene

Photo: Stocksy/ Martí Sans
POV: You went a little overboard at the farmer’s market last week, and now you left with an overflowing produce basket filled with fruits and veggies on the brink of spoiling. Before you get past the point of no return, throw your *almost* overly ripe food into a smoothie for a super hydrating drink that spares you from unwanted food waste. Because let’s be honest: Making a lousy smoothie is nearly impossible, especially when it's loaded with summer's finest fruit.

From strawberries to mango to avocado, you can add just about any ingredient combination to a summery smoothie and find yourself with a hydrating beverage that tastes delicious. And when we say just about any ingredient, we really mean it. Although you might be more accustomed to seeing bananas and raspberries on the menu at your local smoothie bar, things can quickly change when the food waste police make their way into your produce-packed kitchen—and your guilt-avoidant conscience. Suddenly, you find yourself wondering if you can toss in other produce like cucumbers and tomatoes (say what?) into the mix.

Trust us, when we first heard about adding tomatoes into your smoothie, we were as intrigued as we were perplexed. However, with the right balance of sweet, tart, and fruity ingredients, we found that this lycopene-rich ingredient that has been linked to boosting longevity has quickly become one of our go-to smoothie ingredients, especially when it’s time to purge the refrigerator.

To ensure no tomato goes to waste, this spicy-sweet strawberry smoothie recipe by The Gracious Pantry features Roma tomatoes that go virtually undetected on the palate yet offer all of the health benefits.

So, what’s the argument for adding tomatoes into our smoothies?

Okay, hear us out. Before you say absolutely not and run for the hills, know that eating tomatoes is a great way to add lycopene, aka an antioxidant-rich plant nutrient, into your meals. “Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to improving blood pressure and cardiovascular health, reducing cholesterol, and fighting a variety of cancers,” says Laura Iu, RDN, CDN, CNSC, RYT, a registered dietitian and founder of Laura Iu Nutrition, previously told Well+Good.

Among the many health benefits of lycopene, Iu explains that foods rich with this plant compound can help fight off free-radicals that build up in the body to prevent them from further damaging healthy cells. For every 100 grams of fresh tomatoes, you can find about three milligrams of the compound. And with the help of anti-inflammatory cayenne pepper and super sweet, fiber-filled strawberries, you’ll never guess that tomatoes are secretly disguised in this spicy-sweet smoothie recipe.

Plus, as if the tomatoes, strawberries, and cayenne pepper weren’t a smoothie power trio as is, this recipe also features cucumbers, aka one of the most hydrating (and healthy) fruits of them all. Cukes contain tons of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, B vitamins, manganese, and copper. The high levels of vitamin C in cucumbers can act as a powerful antioxidant to help combat oxidative stress and inflammation associated with certain chronic diseases. Meanwhile, potassium can play a role in fluid balance and lowering blood pressure, and vitamin K supports bone health, Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, a registered dietitian and owner of Kara Lydon Nutrition, previously told Well+Good.

Now that we’ve built a substantial case for adding tomatoes to your smoothies, find our favorite sweet and spicy strawberry smoothie recipe here and give it a shot.

Meet the *golden child* of anti-inflammatory smoothie recipes:

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