(JNS.org) A poll by the Volcan Agricultural Research Center conducted for Israel’s 68th Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzmaut) and the 95th anniversary of the center’s founding shows that that the tomato is considered the "most Israeli vegetable,” Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Among the 500 men and women over the age of 18 who participated in the survey, about 44 percent chose the tomato as their favorite "vegetable." (It should be noted, however, that there is an ongoing and age-old debate about whether the tomato is a vegetable or a fruit.)
Fifty-four percent of respondents expressed the preference to eat tomatoes in salads, and the tomato appears to be most popular with people over the age of 50. Fifty-six percent of those in that age group said the tomato is the only vegetable for which they can find no suitable replacement. The survey also showed that Israelis don’t like to peel tomatoes.
"Tomatoes contain essential anti-oxidants and are vital for good nutrition. They contain alpha and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Together, these anti-oxidants strengthen the immune system and protect the body against illness. In addition, tomato juice is a really healthy drink, as it helps with lung function and protects against damage to DNA,” said Dr. Ilan Levin of the Department of Vegetables and Crops at the Volcan center.
“The Israeli public consumes a large amount of fruits and vegetables. The poll strengthens the theory of the tomato being the 'most Israeli vegetable.' Tomatoes are high in nutritional value, and their consumption also provides the public with other wide-ranging health benefits,” said the lead researcher of the poll, Prof. Yoram Kapulnik.
On the fruit side, respondents chose citrus fruit as the most popular choice in the Jewish state.