Tomatoes are often considered as vegetable, though in reality they are citrus fruits. Tomatoes are incredibly versatile food. They are deliciously eaten raw, in salads or on sandwiches, and taken on a wonderful sweetness when cooked. Their high acid content makes them a perfect food for canning.
One medium whole tomato contains around 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein and 6 milligrams of sodium. It also provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 2 percent of the RDA of iron, and 1 percent of the RDA of calcium.
Here are some of the health benefits of tomatoes.
- Ward off Cancer:
Numerous studies have concluded that the more tomatoes people eat the lower their risks of certain cancers, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers. A substance called lycopene, which is responsible for tomatoes red color, is thought to be the reason for this cancer protective effect. Processed tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones. The process of cooking breaks down the cell walls, helping to release the lycopene. Eating tomatoes with a little bit of fat, such as olive oil, helps lycopene to be better absorbed by the body.
- Prevent DNA Damage:
Tomatoes are high in important antioxidants such as vitamin C and Vitamin A. These vitamins work to fend of DNA damage from free radicals. Consequently, tomatoes may help to ward off age related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes.
- Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease:
Tomatoes contain important nutrients, such as niacin, folate and vitamin B6, that have associated with the reduction of heart disease risk. One study found that women who ate 7 to 10 servings of tomato products per week had a 29 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than women who consumed less than a serving and a half of tomato products each week. Results were even more impressive when the women ate oil-rich tomato products.
- Protect Against Thrombosis:
Another study showed that drinking 8 ounces of tomato juice daily reduced platelet aggregation significantly, among study subjects. Those drinking a placebo showed no benefit. It’s important to drink low-sodium tomato juice if you are trying to protect against thrombosis (blood clots in the blood vessel), as high sodium levels can cause negative effects for this type of disease.
- Ward off Inflammation:
A double blind study found that drinking a glass of tomato juice a day can reduce blood levels of TNF-alpha by 34 percent. TNF-alpha causes inflammation. High levels have been found in individuals with most chronic, degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
- Improves vision:
Vitamin A, present in tomatoes, helps to improve your eyesight as well as prevent night-blindness and macular degeneration.
- Maintaining blood health:
Research suggests that a single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement and also contains vitamin A, potassium, and iron that is essential for maintaining normal blood health. Vitamin K, which is controls bleeding and blood clotting, tomatoes help in blood circulation.
- Good for digestion:
Eating tomatoes daily can keep your digestive system healthy as it prevents both, constipation and diarrhoea. It also prevents jaundice and effectively removes toxins from the body.