The health benefits of tomatoes attribute to its unique blend of organic compounds, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Tomatoes keep the skin healthy, fight against thrombosis, maintain stronger bones, detoxifies the internal system, improve eyesight, reduce cardiovascular problems, and support digestion.
Tomato (scientific name: Solanum lycopersicum) is red, edible fruit which belongs to the family called Solanaceae. Though tomatoes originated from South America and Central America, their purpose as a food initiated from Mexico. Later, it spread to the entire world. Tomatoes were mistakenly thought to be toxic by Europeans, as they were doubtful of their shiny, bright fruit. However, the leaves of a tomato plant are poisonous while the fruit is not.
Tomatoes grow in warm, temperate climatic conditions and come in different varieties. A tomato plant typically grows to a height of 3 to 10 feet (or 1 to 3 meters). It has weak stems that often sprawl on the vines of other plants. Even though a tomato is a botanically berry kind of fruit, it is considered as a culinary vegetable. Today, you can see tomatoes being widely used in sauces, drinks, salads, and other dishes.
Nutritional Value Of Tomatoes
The nutrients in tomatoes include:
- Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B9 (Folate Or Folic Acid), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, And Vitamin K.
- Minerals: Calcium, Zinc, Phosphorous, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, and Magnesium.
- Phyto-nutrients: α-carotene, β-carotene, Lycopene, and Lutein-zeaxanthin.
- Others: Energy – 18 Kcal, Fiber – 1.2 g, Carbohydrates – 3.9g, Fat – 0.2 g, Cholesterol – 0 mg, and Protein – 0.9 g.
10 Best Health Benefits Of Tomatoes
1. Improves Eyesight
Just like carrots, even tomatoes help in improving the eyesight. This is primarily contributed to the presence of vitamin A in them. This nutrient prevents macular degeneration and night blindness. Vitamin A is one of the most powerful antioxidants, which forms from body’s excess β-carotene. A majority of eye problems occurs from the negative outcomes of free radicals. However, vitamin A helps in preventing them. Besides vitamin A, the other phytonutrients that help in maintaining good eyes are none other than zeaxanthin and lutein.
2. Healthy and Glowing Skin
One of the best health benefits of tomatoes is the ability to give out a healthy and glowing skin naturally. This is due to the presence of lycopene in high quantities. In fact, this phytonutrient is something that is most used in highly priced facial cleansers. So, stop using those pricey skin products and go natural. Use tomato face packs for a healthy glow.
Just mash 3 to 4 tomatoes and apply the juice on the face. Leave it for 10 minutes for the nutrients to act deep into the face’s skin and wash off with water. Doing this on a regular basis leaves the skin clear and shiny. Apart from keeping the skin glowing, the components in tomatoes prevent further damage to skin cells and fights problems like pimples, acne scars, wrinkles, and dark spots. The vitamin C in them takes care of the collagen production while the retinoids (a compound of vitamin A) averts premature aging.
3. Stronger and Healthier Bones
Tomatoes have a substantial amount of Vitamin K and calcium. Both these nutrients assist in strengthening the bones while repairing the minor damage that occurs in the bones & bone tissues. Moreover, the phytonutrient lycopene promotes better bone health and prevents the growth of osteoporosis.
According to the research published in the Bone & Mineral Journal, individuals with high lycopene levels in the blood experienced less nonvertebral or hip fracture than the participants who did not. Furthermore, a journal published in the Osteoporosis International demonstrated that women (especially who were on the post menopause) added lycopene in their daily diets for 4 months and saw reduced bone resorption (bone breakdown). Since tomatoes are a natural source of lycopene, adding them can help you have strong bones.
4. Prevents Cancer
The health benefits of tomatoes contribute in preventing dangerous disease like cancer as well. Since tomatoes are enriched with natural dietary fiber, it ensures that the colon is 100% healthy and thus, reduces the chances of prostate cancer. Besides fiber content, an important nutrient tomatoes have for preventing prostate cancer is none other than alpha-tomatine (a saponin phytonutrient), which alters the metabolic activity.
Also, the lycopene content in tomatoes lowers the risk of other types of cancers like lung and stomach. When tomatoes are cooked, the cell walls are broken down and then, the compound – lycopene – is released.
5. Repairs The Smoking Damage
Well, this doesn’t mean you can have plenty of tomatoes and keep smoking so that the damage is all compensated. Certainly not. But, they do help a lot in reducing the damage that the body goes through after an individual smokes cigarettes.
The repair of smoking damage is often contributed to two important organic acids in tomatoes, known as, chlorogenic acid and coumaric acid. Both these work together in defending the body against nitrosamines (these are carcinogens) which are produced after smoking a cigarette.
6. Protects The Heart
Tomatoes contain vital nutrients like vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B3 (niacin), all of which have been related to lowering major heart problems.
Apart from vitamin B-complex, an important mineral in tomatoes – potassium – is highly effective in reducing abnormal cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Hence, including tomatoes in the regular diet can successfully prevent strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular disorders.
7. Eliminates Harmful Body Toxins
One of the best health benefits of tomatoes is the ability to detoxify and internal body organs naturally. Tomatoes are fortified with vital antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamins A & C. These nutrients help in neutralizing the free radicals from the blood.
When free radicals are in the blood streams, they can be highly dangerous, as it causes oxidative stress and severe cell damage. So, the redder tomatoes you consume, the more β-carotene you get. Make a note that cooking wipes out all the natural Vitamin C a tomato has; therefore, have them raw.
8. Prevents Urinary Infections
Consuming tomatoes on a regular basis reduces the formation of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). According to studies, this is mainly due to the presence of water content in high levels, which stimulate proper urination. Moreover, tomatoes are diuretic in nature. Thus, eliminates the harmful toxins, excess fat, uric acid, and salts from the body.
Also Read: How Cranberry Juice Helps UTI?
9. Fights Against Thrombosis
Research shows that consuming a glass of tomato juice on a regular basis attributes in reducing the platelet aggregation radically. On the other hand, participants consuming a placebo had no benefit. If you are trying to defend against thrombosis, a condition where blood is clotted inside the blood vessels, it is vital to drink a glass of low-sodium, fresh tomato juice. Increased sodium levels cause negative effects in this type of disorder.
10. Good For Digestion
Tomatoes assist in maintaining a healthier digestive system by preventing major problems like diarrhea and constipation. It also wards off jaundice and removes harmful toxins from the body. Further, tomatoes are enriched with good amounts if dietary fiber, which adds bulkiness to the stools and reduce the signs of constipation. Fiber stimulates the peristaltic motion and releases digestive as well as gastric juices. These are helpful in regulating the bowel movements and improving the overall digestive system.
Side Effects Of Tomatoes
Any natural food consumed in excess is never good for health. Just like other vegetables, even tomatoes have certain side effects. Make a note of these:
1. Never eat the leaves of tomato plants, as they are poisonous.
2. Eating excess amounts of tomatoes leads to increased levels of potassium and lycopene in the body. The side effects usually include allergic reactions, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and indigestion.
3. Since they have are acidic in nature, they can be a problem in individuals who have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), acid reflux, and heartburn.
The health benefits of tomatoes given here are true to research. Since the article is limited to ten benefits, the other advantages of eating tomatoes might not be listed. However, you can share them in the comments section and let other readers make aware of what health wonders tomatoes can do.
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