Why eat tomatoes ?

What is a Tomato?

Tomato is considered both, a혻fruit혻and a혻vegetable혻and forms an integral part of cuisines across the globe, especially in the혻Mediterranean혻region. Daily consumption of tomatoes provides a great boost to the health, along with improving the flavor of혻food. You can find them in different foods like혻pasta,혻pizzas, ketchup, and various혻beverages. They혻are relatively easy to cultivate and grow very quickly, making them a great food source, which is a big reason why tomatoes are a staple food for many nations.

The혻scientific name혻of tomatoes is혻Solanum혻lycopersicum혻and they are believed to be native to Mexico.[1]혻However, the Spanish colonization of America and Central America caused tomato cultivation to spread. They are an annual혻nightshade혻plant and grow in clusters of small to moderately sized, round red혻fruits. They혻have soft, pinkish red flesh and a number of혻seeds, as well as a slightly혻sweet혻taste. They are considered both,혻vegetables혻and fruits and weigh approximately 4 ounces.

Nowadays, tomatoes are grown in countries all over the world and there are thousands of cultivars and varieties that can provide you with unique health benefits. Let셲 explore a few of the reasons why they are such a valuable food item for혻humanhealth.

Tomatoes Nutrition Facts

The health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of혻nutrients혻and혻vitamins, including an impressive amount of혻vitamin A,혻vitamin C, and혻vitamin K, as well as significant amounts of혻vitamin B6,혻folate, and혻thiamine. They혻are also a good source of혻potassium,혻manganese,혻magnesium,혻phosphorus, and혻copper. They have혻dietaryfiber혻and혻protein, as well as a number of혻organic혻compounds like혻lycopene혻that contribute to their health benefits.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

The health benefits of tomatoes have been known to mankind since ancient times. They혻are rich sources of antioxidants that have been proven to be effective against many forms of혻cancer. Let셲 discuss the benefits in detail.

Antioxidant Agent

Tomato contains a혻large amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that is highly effective in혻scavenging혻cancer-causing free radicals. This benefit can even be obtained from혻heat-processed tomato products like ketchup. The lycopene in tomatoes defends against cancer and has been shown to be effective in fighting혻prostate cancer,혻cervical혻cancer, cancer of the stomach and혻rectum혻as well as혻pharynx혻and혻esophageal혻cancers. It also protects against혻breast혻and혻mouth혻cancer, according to studies published by the혻Harvard School of Public Health.[2]

Rich Source of혻Vitamins and Minerals

A single tomato can혻provide혻about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement.[1]혻Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which prevents cancer-causing free radicals from damaging the body셲 systems. It also contains abundant혻vitamin A혻and혻potassium, as well as혻iron. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining혻nerve혻health and혻iron혻is essential for maintaining normal blood circulation. Vitamin K, which is essential for blood혻clotting혻and controlling혻bleeding, is also abundant in tomatoes.

Protect the Heart

The lycopene in tomatoes prevents serum혻lipid혻oxidation, thus exerting a protective effect against cardiovascular혻diseases.[3]혻A regular consumption of tomatoes has been proven to decrease the levels of LDL혻cholesterol혻and혻triglycerides혻in the blood. These lipids are the key culprits in cardiovascular diseases and lead to the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.

Counter the Effect of Smoking Cigarette

The coumaric acid and혻chlorogenic혻acid, in tomatoes, fight against nitrosamines, which are the main혻carcinogens혻found in혻cigarettes. The presence of vitamin A in high quantities has been shown to reduce the effects of carcinogens and can protect you against혻lung혻cancer.

Improve Vision

Vitamin A, present in tomatoes, aids in improving vision and preventing night-blindness혻and혻macular혻degeneration. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that can be formed from an excess of beta-carotene혻in the body. A lot of vision problems occur due to the negative effects of free radicals and vitamin A, being a powerful antioxidant, can help prevent them.

Aid in Digestion

Tomatoes keep the혻digestive혻system healthy by preventing both혻constipation혻and혻diarrhea. They also prevent혻jaundice혻and effectively remove혻toxins혻from the body. Furthermore, they혻have a혻large amount혻of혻fiber, which can bulk the혻bowels혻and reduce symptoms of혻constipation.[4]혻A healthy amount of fiber helps stimulate혻peristaltic혻motion in the smooth digestive혻muscles혻and release혻gastric혻and digestive혻juices. This can regulate your bowel movements, thereby improving your overall digestive health and helping you avoid conditions like혻colorectal혻cancer.

Lower Hypertension

Consuming a tomato daily reduces the risk of혻developing혻hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.[5]혻This is partially due to the impressive levels of potassium found in tomatoes. Potassium is a혻vasodilator, meaning that it reduces the tension in blood vessels and혻arteries, thereby increasing circulation and lowering the혻stress혻on the혻heart혻by eliminating hypertension.

Manage Diabetes

A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that daily consumption of tomatoes reduces the혻oxidativestress혻of혻type 2 diabetes.

Skin Care

Tomatoes aid in maintaining healthy혻teeth,혻bones,혻hair, and skin. Topical application of tomato juice is even known to cure severe혻sunburns. Daily consumption protects the skin against UV-induced혻erythema.혻They rank high in the preparation of혻anti-aging혻products.

Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Tomato intake reduces the incidence of urinary tract혻infections, as well as혻bladder cancer.[6]혻This is because tomatoes are high in혻water혻content, which can stimulate혻urination; hence, they혻are a혻diuretic. This increases the elimination of toxins from the body, as well as excess water,혻salts,혻uric혻acid, and some fats as well!

tomatoinfographicPrevent Gallstones

Regular consumption of tomatoes can혻provide relief혻from혻gallstones.[7]혻There have been various studies to prove their efficacy against many chronic diseases and varieties of cancer. The antioxidant properties of tomatoes can also be derived from processed foods like ketchup and purees. Daily consumption of tomatoes fulfills the requirement of vitamins and혻minerals혻and exerts an overall protective effect on the body.

Why are Organic Tomatoes Better?

Organic tomatoes, according to a study at the University of California, are produced in an environment that has a lower nutrient supply, since혻nitrogen-rich chemical혻fertilizers혻are not added. This leads to excessive formation of antioxidants such as혻quercetin혻(79% higher) and혻kaempferol혻(97% higher) in organic tomatoes. As we all know, antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing혻heart혻diseases. Moreover, chemical-based tomato혻farming혻involves spraying tomatoes with large quantities of혻pesticides혻and혻insecticides. Tomatoes are a highly sprayed crop throughout the world. Therefore, many혻organic food혻lovers believe that they are protected from chemical혻contamination혻when they eat the organic ones instead. Of course,혻organic farming혻is good for the environment as well!

 

From : www.organicfacts.net