The beneficial properties of tomatoes
Natural Super Foods
Tomatoes! They’re sweet, juicy, and delicious. Everyone knows they are good for you but does everyone know specifically why tomatoes are such a healthy food? We know that:
- They have vitamin C
- They’re low in calories
- They’re fat-free
But let’s look at what makes the tomato an excellent healthy choice. 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 fibre, 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. One tomato packs one powerful punch of nutrition, but there’s much more!
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.
Tomatoes build strong bones. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.
Lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which is a great way to fight osteoporosis.
Tomatoes are a natural cancer fighter. Lycopene (again!) can reduce the risk of several cancers, including prostate, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer. Tomatoes’ antioxidants (vitamins A and C) fight the free radicals which can cause cell damage.
Tomatoes can keep your blood sugar in balance. Tomatoes are a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.
Tomatoes can improve your vision. The vitamin A that tomatoes provide can improve vision and help prevent night blindness. Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition.
Tomatoes will even make your hair look better. The vitamin A found in tomatoes works to make hair strong and shiny. (Sorry, tomatoes cannot help much with thinning hair—but they will make the hair you have look better!)
Tomatoes can help prevent kidney stones and gallstones. Some studies suggest that kidney and gall stones are less likely to form in people who eat tomatoes without the seeds.
Tomatoes can reduce chronic pain. If you are one of the millions of people who deal with mild to moderate chronic pain (such as from arthritis or back pain), tomatoes may be a pain-buster. Tomatoes are high in bioflavonoids and carotenoids, which are known anti-inflammatory agents. Chronic pain often involves chronic inflammation, so attacking the inflammation is a good way to fight the chronic pain. (Many commercial drugs that fight pain are actually anti-inflammatory drugs).
Tomatoes can help you lose weight. If you are on a sensible diet and exercise plan, build lots of tomatoes into your everyday eating. They make a great snack and can be used to “bulk up” salads, casseroles, sandwiches and other meals. Because tomatoes contain lots of water and fibre, they are what Weight Watchers calls a “filling food,” one of those foods that fill you up fast without adding a lot of calories or fat.
The importance of lycopene in tomatoes
One hundred grams of tomato, three times a week, represent the minimum dose because lycopene can exert its preventive function.
Lycopene is a substance responsible for the red color of tomatoes. It is a natural antioxidant that can protect cells from aging. The human organism is not able to synthesize lycopene, and the only way to take it is through the power supply.
Some research has shown that the best way to take the body lycopene is cooking the tomato and turning it into gravy or sauce: in this way enhances its antioxidant power.
As shown by a study published in the journal International Journal of Cancer, usually enter into a weekly diet dish made of tomato, such as pasta or pizza, it means considerably reduce the risk of cancer of the digestive system.
A second study, conducted by Harvard Medical School on 48,000 men, found that those who consume tomato-based foods more than twice a week, sees reduced by 34% the risk of prostate cancer than those who did not consume at all.
Tomatoes and cosmetics
The cosmetic benefits of tomatoes
With all of their health benefits, tomatoes are fantastic at treating certain skin problems from dry and chapped skin to sunburn. The cosmetics industry often use tomato pulp as an ingredient in masks and toners, to nourish and firm the skin.
For a homemade remedy, mix the juice of one tomato with almond oil and roots and leaves of mallow and apply to desired areas.
To treat redness cause from over exposure to the sun, mix together tomato and olive oil to help calm and sooth skin. Oilier skins should add a dash of lemon juice for its toning benefits.