Tomatoes are very popular red colored edible fruit of the tomato or Solanum lycopersicum plant. Used widely in cuisines around the world they are rich in lycopene, a strong natural antioxidant.
They are also excellent sources of vitamin C, A K, folate, potassium and anthocyanin. They are eaten raw in salads as well as processed to make sauces, soups, and juices or pickled.
Health benefits of tomatoes
- Skin benefits: Antioxidant lycopene present in tomatoes protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet radiations of the Sun. It inhibits cell damage caused by oxidative stress and prevents fine lines or wrinkle on the skin. Applying tomato juice to which lime is added on the face cures problems of large pores, acne and dry and dull skin. Tomatoes are beneficial to remove blackheads when used as a facial scrub along with avocado. It treats skin inflammation and makes our skin more radiant.
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- Anti-carcinogenic properties: Regular consumption of tomatoes is related to reduced risks of lung, stomach, pancreatic, ovary and prostate cancers. Lycopene and other phytonutrients in tomatoes have anti-carcinogenic effects on the body. Cooking increases the bioavailability of lycopene. Adding fats like olive oil enhance lycopene absorption in the body.
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- Inhibits DNA damage: Antioxidant vitamins like A and C are abundant in tomatoes and they prevent cellular DNA damage caused by oxygen free radicals. This in turn prevents many diseases related to aging like atherosclerosis, age related macular degeneration and diabetes.
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- Curtails risks of heart disease: The antioxidants as well as niacin, folate and vitamin B6 present in tomatoes promote our heart health by decreasing levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides thereby lowering risk of cardiovascular disease.
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- Prevents inflammation: Daily consumption of tomato juice have been associated with reduction in levels of TNF-alpha in the blood that causes inflammation. This is beneficial in controlling degenerative diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
- Good for bones: 17.8% of daily requirement of vitamin K is fulfilled by one cup of raw tomatoes. This vitamin helps to strengthen our bones by activating non-collagen protein osteocalcin which promotes bone mineralization and keeps osteoporosis at bay.
- Riboflavin present in tomatoes is beneficial in lowering incidence of migraine attacks in people suffering from them.
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- Inhibits acidosis: Tomatoes prevent acidosis which may result from various reasons including fatigue, headache, loss of calcium from the body, insomnia, muscular pain, hormonal imbalance, acne, depression and other degenerative disorders.
- Boosts immunity: Rich in vitamin C tomatoes strengthen body’s natural infection fighting capacities. Regularly drinking tomato juice can help keep colds and flu at bay.
- Beneficial for eyes: Vitamin A is good for our retina as its deficiency causes night blindness. Therefore high amounts of vitamin A present in tomatoes is very beneficial for our eye health.
- You can also lower urinary tract symptoms by including tomatoes or its products in your diet.
- Tomatoes are also beneficial in controlling blood pressure, cataract and reduce symptoms of asthma attack.
You should always eat ripe tomatoes as green unripe tomatoes and leaves of the tomato plants are said to be toxic.
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