Description: Ketchup, which just might be America’s favorite condiment, is basically a blend of tomatoes and sugar. Lycopene, a naturally-occurring red pigment, has recently received a lot of press because of its potent antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Organic varieties of ketchup contain more than three times as much lycopene as non-organic brands. Because lycopene causes color, the trick is to look for the darkest, deepest shade of red ketchup you can find. It is also important to remember that most ketchup is made with a base of refined white sugar. Look for ketchup that uses unrefined organic sugar or natural sweetener alternatives.

What to look for: Organic ketchup that is a deep, dark red color. Seek heirloom tomatoes and unrefined sweeteners such as sucanat, agave syrup, or honey to mention a few. See the Sweeteners section for more ideas.

Uses: How many foods deserve ketchup? Have a ball, with moderation in mind.

Where to find: Grocery stores, natural food stores, and online resources.

Avoid: Conventional ketchup made with refined white sugar. In all things, it is your choice and responsibility as a smart shopper to read labels in order to determine the quality of ingredients. If you are someone who does not enjoy food without a tad or smother, consider a ketchup fast for a period of one week to break the cycle.