Tomatoes Nutrition and Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are native to South America and first originated or cultivated in the highlands of Peru. Although tomatoes are fruits of the plant Solanum lycopersicum but they are mostly considered as vegetables. Scientifically tomato plant has three names - Solanum lycopersicum, Lycopersicon esculentum and Lycopersicon lycopersicum. Tomatoes are now available throughout the year and come with different colours such as red, yellow, orange, green, purple, or brown. Tomatoes are rich with many nutrients but among them most important and talked about is lycopene. Different studies showed that lycopene has great positive impact in our health. But what is lycopene? Let’s find out.
What is Lycopene?
Lycopene is a carotenoid which is responsible to make tomatoes red and a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene can be found in other red fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and red carrots etc. In the area of phytonutrients research for the last few years, probably lycopene is the hottest topic. Many researches have shown us that antioxidant properties in lycopene protect against oxidative stress and prevent heart disease. Studies have also shown us that lycopene protects the body from different types of cancer. Lycopene lowers the risk of colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
Nutritional Profile of Tomatoes
Lycopene is not the only nutrient that you can find in tomatoes. In fact, tomatoes are rich with many other minerals and vitamins. Tomatoes are extremely rich in Vitamin C. Other than that they are excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Tomatoes are very good source of potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, chromium, thiamine and molybdenum. In addition, tomatoes are rich in Vitamin B3 or niacin, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, tryptophan and protein.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Any food which is so dense with nutrients must have quite a few health benefits. Tomatoes are not the exception. Here are the health benefits of tomatoes:
• Lycopene in tomatoes is good for the heart. It reduces the cholesterol levels. Regular consumption of tomatoes reduces LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides as well. Niacin, folate and Vitamin B6 are also good to reduce cholesterol levels. Drinking tomato juice is good for lowering the blood pressure.
• Lycopene plays an important role in reducing the risk of cancer. Tomatoes are known as cancer fighting agents. Regular consumption of tomatoes with broccoli fights cancer especially prostate cancer.
• Tomatoes are good for the colon health. Tomatoes remove toxins from the body and prevent diseases and conditions such as jaundice, diarrhoea and constipation.
• Consumption of tomatoes is good for the smokers. Coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid in tomatoes fight nitrosamines which are produced in the body by smoking cigarettes. Nitrosamines are the substances which are responsible for the cancer.
• Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 presents in the tomatoes is good for reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.
• Tomatoes are also good for the patients with the diabetes. Chromium in tomatoes helps to reduce the blood sugar levels.
• Because of the fact that tomatoes are rich in Vitamin K they are great for bone health. Daily consumption of raw tomato is very good for the bone health.
• Tomatoes are also good for the skin. Daily consumption of tomatoes keeps the skin young and protects it from against UV-induced erythema.
• Tomatoes have anti-inflammatory properties and thus good for preventing and treating the diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
• Tomatoes are good for maintaining normal blood health. Vitamins and minerals in tomatoes, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin L, potassium and iron play important roles in healthy blood clotting and maintaining good blood health.
Antioxidants in tomatoes are good for neutralizing dangerous free radicals that could otherwise damage cells and cell membranes. Antioxidants are responsible for reducing the risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetic complications, asthma, colon cancer and lots of other diseases.