They’re red. They’re juicy. And they’re a fruit, even though most people consider them a veggie (which is why scientific texts will now say they are a fruit and a veggie).
What are we talking about? Delicious tomatoes, of course!
Unlike some “veggies,” tomatoes are also a major part of most international cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean region. And it turns out beyond being incredibly tasty, tomatoes happen to be incredibly good for your health as well.
When you look at the nutritional value of tomatoes, it’s easy to see why they offer so many health benefits. Packed with nutrients and vitamins, like an impressive amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and the all-important vitamin K, tomatoes also boast significant amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper. Oh, and we can’t forget that tomatoes are an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein!
You can see why we’re so excited over them!
Quick Note: Buy Organic Tomatoes When and if You Can
A team of scientists from the University of California at Davis conducted a study to determine the difference, if any, in the nutritional values of organic versus non-organic tomatoes. The results were not shocking.
Higher amounts of antioxidants, like quercetin (which was 79% higher) and kaempferol (97% higher) were found in the organic tomatoes. Not only are organic tomatoes healthier because they provide more antioxidants; they are heathier because they have not been sprayed with harmful pesticides and insecticides.
When you can, always buy organic tomatoes to receive the full health benefits.
With that in mind, here are 8 health benefits of tomatoes and why you’ll want to start eating more of them ASAP.
1. Cancer Prevention
Tomatoes contain a high amount of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that is excellent at fighting free radicals that cause aging and diseases like cancer. In fact, studies have found lycopene to be especially effective at defending against prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and cancer of the stomach and rectum.
And, according to studies published by the Harvard School of Public Health, lycopene also protects against breast cancer and cancer of the mouth.
2. Heart Health
Oh no, we’re not done with singing the praises of lycopene in tomatoes. Beyond being an effective cancer preventative, lycopene prevents serum lipid oxidation. Consuming tomatoes on a regular basis has been proven to decrease bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood. These lipids are the key culprits in cardiovascular diseases and lead to the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.
In conclusion, if you want a delicious way to treat your heart like a king – or queen – eat more tomatoes!
3. Counters the Effects of Cigarette Smoke
Besides lycopene, tomatoes also boast two powerful nutritional agents: coumaric and chlorogenic, which have the ability to fight against nitrosamines, unhealthy compounds produced in the body and are the main carcinogens found in cigarettes. And that high amount of vitamin A we mentioned earlier? It has been shown to reduce the effects of carcinogens and can protect against lung cancer.
While we highly recommend all smokers quit, if you’re someone who is having a hard time quitting, we encourage you to eat healthier, starting by adding more tomatoes to your diet.
4. Improves Your Vision
You’ve most likely heard that tomatoes and carrots are great for your eyesight. This is, again, attributed to the high levels of vitamin A. Tomatoes not only improve vision, but also prevent night-blindness and macular degeneration.
5. Keep Your Digestive System Healthy
Tomatoes can keep your GI tract healthy by preventing both constipation and diarrhea. Thanks to the large amount of fiber found in tomatoes, they can help keep a person nice and regular. This helps you continually remove toxins from the body and help prevent conditions like colorectal cancer.
6. Manage Diabetes
A study by the journal of the American Medical Association shows that daily consumption of tomatoes reduces the oxidative stress of type 2 diabetes.
7. Beautiful Healthy Skin
All of those powerful nutrients we discussed at the beginning of this article? They all go a long way toward maintaining healthy hair and skin. In fact, the topical application of tomato juice has been known to cure severe sunburn (and get that funky skunk smell off of dogs). Daily consumption of tomatoes also protects the skin against UV-induced erythema.
8. Lowers Hypertension
Having high blood pressure is not only dangerous, it can greatly decrease your quality of life.
Well, it turns out eating tomatoes on a daily basis can reduce the risk of developing hypertension and lower your numbers over time. This is thanks to the significant levels of potassium found in tomatoes. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it reduces the tension in blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing circulation and lowering the stress on the heart by eliminating hypertension.
While eating more tomatoes is a great way to get your numbers down, sometimes diet alone is not enough.
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