Whether you regard them as vegetables or fruits, the truth about tomatoes is that they are sweet, juicy, and delicious. They’re everywhere. You see them almost everyday. And chances are you eat them often — raw, in salad, on sandwiches, or in other foods.
But do you know the health benefits of tomatoes? Even if you knew some before now, you’ll most likely learn ones here. Read on to find out.
First, let’s discuss some interesting basic facts about tomatoes:
- Tomatoes contain low calories, so eating them is highly unlikely to cause weight gain. One medium whole tomato contains 22 calories.
- One medium whole tomato contains 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of fat, and 6 milligrams of sodium. In addition, it provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 1 percent of the RDA of calcium, and 2 percent of the RDA of iron.
- Tomatoes also contain a wide array of other beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including lycopene, alpha-lipoic acid, choline, beta-carotene, and lutein.
- Tomatoes contain high amounts of acid, and this makes them a perfect food for canning.
- Amazingly, tomatoes were once considered toxic in the United States until the mid 1800s, when they became a staple food for Americans.
Now, let’s discuss the health benefits of tomatoes.
6 health benefits of tomatoes
Tomato is a functional food that does much more than providing basic nutrition. It delivers many other amazing health benefits due to the lycopene and other beneficial phytochemicals it contains.
- Tomatoes help to prevent cancer
More-than-countable studies have revealed that eating tomatoes regularly can actually lower the risk of certain cancers, especially breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer, and prostate cancer. This benefit has been linked with the lycopene and beta-carotene present in tomatoes.
Cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw ones because cooking causes the release of more lycopene from tomato cells. So, it is recommended that you take more of cooked tomatoes.
- Tomatoes enhance heart health
Regular consumption of tomatoes can help improve your heart health because tomatoes contain potassium, the increased intake of which helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
In addition, the choline, fiber, and vitamin C contents of tomatoes all support heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
- Tomatoes improve vision
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, which helps to improve vision and prevent macular degeneration and night blindness. Many eye problems occur due to the harmful effects of free radicals on eye cells.
However, the beta-carotene content of tomatoes is a strong antioxidant that helps to protect the eyes from these damages by neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals.
- Tomatoes slow down aging and prevent tissue damage
Aging, as well as many degenerative disorders, occurs as a result of the long term effects of free radicals on body tissues. Regular consumption of tomatoes slows down these inevitable changes by neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals on body cells and tissues.
- Tomatoes support skin health
The support system of the skin is made of collagen fibers, which are gradually destroyed by environmental agents such as sun rays, pollution, and radiation. However, vitamin C helps to protect the collagen fibers from the harmful effects of these agents, thereby improving skin texture.
- Tomatoes are effective as anti-depressants
The folic acid content of tomatoes have been found to help with depression by preventing the excess formation of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine interferes with the production of feel-good substances such as dopamine and serotonin, leading to a lowering of mood, sleep, and appetite.