Tomatoes, a member of the nightshade family is a nutritional powerhouse that provides lots of health benefits when included in your daily meals. Tomatoes are in fact a fruit but their affinity for other savoury ingredients means they are usually classed as a vegetable.
Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin A, C, K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Thiamine, Magnesium and Phosphorus and they are all essential to maintain good health.
Tomatoes originated in western South America and today they are one of the most important ingredients available. The numbers of varieties run into thousands and they vary in size but most have a sweet, gently tangy flavour and are good both raw and cooked.
Tomatoes has been referred to as a ‘’functional food’’, food that goes beyond providing just basic nutrition, additionally preventing chronic disease and delivering other health benefits due to beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene.
Read on to discover the health benefits of tomatoes
1. FIGHTS CANCER
As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant Vitamin C and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.
According to a study published in the journal of the National Cancer Institute, consuming tomatoes can help combat prostate cancer.
Another study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s department of Nutrition, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer among younger men.
2. GOOD FOR THE HEART
According to Mark Houston, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee, the fibre, potassium, vitamin C and chlorine content in tomatoes all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, he also says.
3. REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Tomatoes contain very little carbohydrates and they help reduce blood sugar levels. A few studies have found that the powerful antioxidants in tomatoes protect the bloodstream and kidneys.
Studies have also shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high fibre diets have lower blood glucose levels and a cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 2 grams of fibre.
4. GOOD FOR THE SKIN
Tomatoes help clear your skin and make it look perfect. Tomatoes have lots of vitamin C and collagen (the skin support system) is reliant on vitamin C.
Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from sun damage and makes your skin less sensitive to UV light, one of the causes of wrinkles.
5. HELPS YOUR VISION
Vitamins A and C help improve your vision and tomatoes contains lots of vitamin A and C. They are also help fight against night blindness.
Consuming tomatoes also lower your risk of developing cataracts. Phytochemical antioxidants lycopene and lutein which protect your eyes from light damage can also be found in tomatoes.
So you should consider adding tomatoes to your meals every day to reap all these benefits.