Also referred to by its scientific name of Solanum lycopersicum, tomatoes are among the most popular plants, and they provide very many health benefits for your body. They do not just taste good but are full of health benefits for your body.
In fact, they happen to be among the most versatile of all the plants you consume, and this allows you to use them in an endless array of dishes and salads – you can even eat them as a standalone ingredient. You can also consider them as vegetables, although they are scientifically classified as fruits.
- 4 Fact Why are Tomatoes so Important in Your Diet
- What is the Nutritional Content?
- Tip on Handling Tomatoes
- Final Thoughts
4 Fact Why are Tomatoes so Important in Your Diet
The major nutrient they contain is lycopene, an antioxidant that has proven itself to be the protector against oxidization, therefore preventing cancer and heart diseases. They also are sources of other nutrients such as Vitamin C and potassium, aside from using supplements such as organic wheat grass juice powder – here are some reasons you should consider eating them more often.
#1. Protecting Your Heart Health
The most common cause of deaths in the world today is not accidents or terminal illnesses like cancer – it is actually strokes and heart diseases. In fact, a study that was done in middle-aged men revealed that the lower their levels of beta=carotene and lycopene, the higher their risk of getting a stroke or heart attack.
Scientific research also shows that LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream are reduced significantly when you consume foods that are rich in lycopene, including tomatoes. Other tomato products have also proven to give health benefits relating to reducing markers of stress from oxidation (occurring at the cellular level), reduce the risk of blood clotting, and form a protective inner layer in the blood vessels.
#2. Prevention of Cancer
The definition of cancer is the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells, which makes them spread outside their limits, and they begin to invade and interfere with other parts of the body.
Results from various studies have shown a strong link between tomato consumption (including its products) and reduction of stomach, lung and prostate cancers. This could be due to the high lycopene content, although of course human trials are required to establish how this works.
In addition, it also happens to protect women against developing breast cancer, particularly due to the high amounts of carotenoids that tomatoes contain.
#3. Maintaining the Health of Your Skin
This is among the most well-known benefits of tomatoes. This is also due to their high lycopene content, as well as other plant compounds that guard the skin against sunburn.
For instance, a certain study found that individuals that consumed at least 10 grams of tomato paste in their food experienced 40 percent fewer incidences of sunburns. This benefit increased significantly when the pair their food with olive oil, and they consume it for ten weeks on a daily basis.
#4. They are Good for Your Eyes and Hair
Because tomatoes also contain Vitamin A, they play a role in maintaining your eyesight. An additional aspect is the prevention of night blindness, especially when you eat them raw (which is the best way to obtain their benefits). The high levels of Vitamin A also assist in keeping your hair strong and shiny.
What is the Nutritional Content?
Expect water content ranging between 92 to 95 percent, while the remaining part is fiber and carbohydrates. The number of calories contained in a medium size tomato are only 22, so they are not calorie dense.
These only make up 4 percent of the total tomato composition. This means that they only make up a maximum of five grams if you are dealing with a tomato of average size. Most of this carbohydrate content will also be made up of simple sugars – fructose and glucose, and they will make up to 70 percent.
These wonder fruits are a very good source of fiber, and a tomato of average size will give you 1.5 grams. It is also important to note that most of this fiber is insoluble (almost 90 percent of it), and the fiber consists if cellulose, hemicellulose, as well as lignin.
Minerals and Vitamins
One of the major vitamins is Vitamin C, which the body considers a very important antioxidant and nutrient. A medium size tomato will give you the RDI (recommended daily intake) of 28 percent. Another vitamin is K1, also known as phylloquinone, which helps maintain the health of your bones and prevents blood clotting.
The minerals include potassium, which controls your blood pressure and prevents heart and circulatory system diseases. Another nutrient is folate, or Vitamin B9, which helps to maintain normal cell function and tissue growth. In particular, pregnant women need it in higher amounts because of the development of the fetus.
Lycopene is the main plant compound and is responsible for the red pigment. Its health benefits have undergone extensive study, and it continually proves its worth. Beta-carotene is another major compound, and the body converts it into Vitamin A the uses it for various functions regarding the skin.
Tomato skin also contains naringenin, and this protects the body against inflammation, as well as chlorogenic acid that helps reduce blood pressure.
Tip on Handling Tomatoes
It is very important to know how to handle them because they are highly perishable. As they begin to ripen, they will produce a hormone in gas form, known as ethylene. If you produce them through traditional methods, you will start the harvesting process when they are still immature and green in color. When they are being made ready for sale at a faster pace, artificial ethylene gas is used.
The problem of making them ripen this way is that there is the poor development of natural flavors that you expect when you eat them, and this makes them tasteless. This is the major reason why local tomatoes will tend to taste better since the process of ripening is slower and more natural.
Tomatoes are among the richest foods you can handle, as they offer numerous health benefits for your body – especially when you consume them raw (like in a salad). Just make sure to select those that have gone through the natural ripening process, as they will offer you the maximum benefits and taste.