Tomatoes are a staple in our kitchens. Packed with nutrients and flavor, it can instantly upgrade your dish into a flavorful one. Without tomatoes, our favorite dishes would not be as amazing as they are now.
More than giving life to our dishes, a tomato is a nutrient-filled superfood that supplies health benefits to a range of bodily functions and systems. If you want to know the many benefits of eating tomatoes, make sure to read further!
History of tomatoes
Did you know that it was only 200 years ago that people thought tomatoes were poisonous in the US? This can be attributed to the fact that the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plant is categorized in the toxic nightshade family.
Tomatoes are considered as the fourth most popular market vegetable next to lettuce, potatoes, and onions. They come in various colors, including orange, yellow, purple, and green. What’s even more interesting is that various subspecies of tomatoes.
They are also a great source of nutrients such as folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. A small, 100-gram raw tomato contains the following nutrients:
Protein: 0.9 grams
Carbs: 3.9 grams
Sugar: 2.6 grams
Fiber: 1.2 grams
Fat: 0.2 grams
Here are the following vitamins and minerals found in a tomato:
Vitamin C – This water-soluble vitamin is famed for its antioxidant properties.
Potassium – This essential mineral is beneficial for heart disease prevention and blood pressure regulation.
Vitamin K1 – Vitamin K is essential for bone health and proper blood clotting.
Folate – Also known as Vitamin B9, Folate is essential for normal cell function and tissue growth.
Other plant compounds include the following:
Beta carotene – Known for its antioxidant properties, this gives food yellow or orange hue. This is transformed into vitamin A in the body.
Lycopene – A beneficial antioxidant that gives off the red pigment of tomato.
The health benefits of tomatoes
The multitude of health benefits tomato offers has been known since ancient times. Here are a few of the many benefits of incorporating tomato in your everyday diet:
Helps fight free radicals
Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant which helps fight cancer-causing free radicals. This benefit can be enjoyed by eating heat-processed tomato food sources like ketchup. Lycopene helps get rid of free radicals that may cause aging and several types of cancer.
Did you know that a single tomato contains 40% of an average person’s daily vitamin C requirement? It is a natural antioxidant which helps fight toxins and boost the immune system. Tomatoes also contain a great amount of vitamin A, iron, and potassium, which all play essential roles in maintaining proper blood health and circulation.
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Tomato’s lycopene content prevents serum lipid oxidation, which protects the heart from diseases. Regular consumption of tomatoes has ben proven to decrease the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in blood, two of the main culprits of heart diseases.
Tomatoes are also rich sources of vitamin A, which aids in improving eyesight and preventing night-blindness. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A can help fight free radicals that may mess up with eyesight. If you are an adult and would like to maintain your eyesight in the healthiest way possible, tomatoes will be your best buddies!
Boosts digestive processes
Tomatoes contain nutrients that help prevent constipation, diarrhea, and other common digestive inconveniences, all thanks to its fiber content. Fiber helps stimulate peristaltic motion, hence relaxing digestive muscles. This can be helpful to people who have constant constipation. You can easily blend tomatoes into almost any meal.
Helps boost skin health
If you are into skincare, you would probably notice tomato among a list of comprehensive ingredients. When applied topically, vitamin C content helps lighten hyperpigmentation. Tomato juice was also found to be beneficial when applied to sunburns. More than that, tomatoes also help maintain healthy hair, bones, and teeth when eaten. It can also help boost collagen production to maintain healthy, supple skin.
Helps prevent urinary tract infections
Eating tomatoes regularly can help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and bladder cancer. Since tomatoes have high water content, it can help stimulate urination, thus increasing the elimination of harmful toxins from the body.