The tomato is the edible, often red berry-type fruit. The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. The tomato is now grown and eaten around the world. It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads, and processed into ketchup or tomato soup. Unripe green tomatoes can also be breaded and fried, used to make salsa,or pickled. Tomato juice is sold as a drink and is used in cocktails such as the Bloody Mary.
One serving of red, ripe, raw tomatoes (one cup or 150 grams) is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Tomatoes also provide thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary for good health. On top of that, one serving of tomatoes gives you 2 grams of fiber, which is 7% of the daily recommended amount. Tomatoes also have a relatively high water content, which makes them a filling food. In general eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, confers protection against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, and heart disease.
Health benefits of Tomato
- Anti -cancer benefits:-
Risk for many cancer types starts out with chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. For this reason, foods that provide us with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support are often foods that show cancer prevention properties. Prostate cancer is by far the best-researched type of cancer in relationship to tomato intake. The jury verdict here is clear: tomatoes can definitely help lower risk of prostate cancer in men
Along with prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer are the two best-studied areas involving tomatoes and cancer risk. Research on tomatoes and breast cancer risk has largely focused on the carotenoid lycopene, and there is fairly well documented risk reduction for breast cancer in association with lycopene intake.
- Cardiovascular Support:-
Dietary intake of tomatoes, consumption of tomato extracts, and supplementation with tomato phytonutrients (like lycopene) have all been shown to improve the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been shown to result in decreased total cholesterol, decreased LDL cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels. It’s also been shown to decrease accumulation of cholesterol molecules inside of macrophage cells. Many phytonutrients in tomatoes are likely to be involved with the improvement of our blood fat levels
- Supports bone health:-
Bone health is another area of growing interest in tomato research. Interestingly, the connection of tomato intake to bone health involves the rich supply of antioxidant in tomatoes. We don’t always think about antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but it is; and tomato lycopene (and other tomato antioxidants) may have a special role to play in this area. In a recent study, tomato and other dietary sources of lycopene were removed from the diets of postmenopausal women for a period of 4 weeks to see what effect lycopene restriction would have on bone health. At the end of 4 weeks, women in the study started to show increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue.
- Healthy Skin:- Collagen, the skins support system, is reliant on vitamin C as an essential nutrient that works in our bodies as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke, smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. Tomatoes make your skin look great. Beta-carotene, also found in carrots and sweet potatoes, helps protect skin against sun damage. Tomatoes’ lycopene also makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, a leading cause of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Regulates Blood Sugar:-Tomatoes can keep your blood sugar in balance. Tomatoes are a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.
- Tomatoes are good for your eyes:-The Vitamin A found in tomatoes is fantastic for improving your vision. In addition, eating tomatoes is one of the best foods to eat to prevent the development of night blindness.
- Healthy hair:-Drinking tomato juice constantly improves the appearance and texture of hair, and since it is rich in vitamin k, it helps to strengthen the tufts of hair and increase its luster as well as the revitalization of growth.
- Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals:- A single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which prevents against cancer-causing free radicals from damaging the body’s systems. It also contains abundant vitamin A and potassium, as well as iron. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining nerve health and iron is essential for maintaining normal blood health. Vitamin K, which is essential in blood clotting and controls bleeding, is also abundant in tomatoes.
- Digestive Health: Tomatoes keep the digestive system healthy by preventing both constipation and diarrhea. It also prevents jaundice and effectively removes toxins from the body. Furthermore, tomatoes have a large amount of fiber, which can bulk up stool and reduce symptoms of constipation. A healthy amount of fiber helps to stimulate peristaltic motion in the smooth digestive muscles, and also release gastric and digestive juices. This can regulate your bowel movements; thereby improving your overall digestive health and helping you avoid conditions like colorectal cancer.
- Prevents Urinary Tract Infections: Tomato intake also reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections, as well as bladder cancer. This is because tomatoes are high in water content, which can stimulate urination, so tomatoes are a diuretic in certain ways. This increases the elimination of toxins from the body, as well as excess water, salts, uric acid, and some fat as well!
How to Select and Store Tomatoes?
Choose tomatoes that have rich colors. Deep reds are a great choice, but so are vibrant oranges/tangerines, brilliant yellows, and rich purples. Tomatoes of all colors provide outstanding nutrient benefits. Tomatoes should be well shaped and smooth skinned with no wrinkles, cracks, bruises, or soft spots. They should not have a puffy appearance since that characteristic is often associated with inferior flavor and may also result in excess waste during preparation. Ripe tomatoes will yield to slight pressure and will have a noticeably sweet fragrance.
Since tomatoes are sensitive to cold, and it will impede their ripening process, store them at room temperature and out of direct exposure to sunlight. They will keep for up to a week, depending upon how ripe they are when purchased. To hasten the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple since the ethylene gas that these fruits emit will help speed up the tomato’s maturation. If the tomatoes begin to become overripe, but you are not yet ready to eat them, place them in the refrigerator (if possible, in the butter compartment which is a warmer area), where they will keep for one or two more days. Removing them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using will help them to regain their maximum flavor and juiciness. Whole tomatoes, chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce freeze well for future use in cooked dishes. Sun-dried tomatoes should be stored in an airtight container, with or without olive oil, in a cool dry place.
Ketchup can be a surprisingly good source of tomato nutrients, including lycopene. But if you are going to purchase tomatoes in the form of ketchup, we recommend that you choose organic ketchup. We make this recommendation not only because you’re likely to avoid unwanted pesticide residues and other contaminants if you purchase organic, but also because we’ve seen a recent study showing higher lycopene content in organic versus non-organic ketchup