Tomatoes and Its Health Benefits
Hey guys, I hope everyone has had a great weekend so far and that it continues to treat you well. For this week’s food article, I want to explore the nutrients and health benefits that tomatoes can bring. A popular and versatile ingredient, a fresh tomato not only tastes delicious, it also packs a healthy punch.
So What’s In Tomatoes?
A lot of stuff. One cup of tomatoes (approx. 150g) contains vitamin A, C, and K as well as potassium. It is one type of food that is low in sodium, cholesterol, fat and calories, making it a perfect ingredient to cook with if you are on a diet. It also contains the four main carotenoids – alpha and beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein. They have their own benefits, but also work together in a group to give your body greater health. Furthermore, lycopene is thought to be the most active antioxidant out of all the carotenoids, which is a great bonus if you like tomatoes!
|There are plenty of nutrients in tomatoes! (pic from investorplace.com)|
In addition, its high water content makes it a food that is filling, which helps to reduce hunger. Other nutrients it contains include vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, thiamine and more; all of these are required by the body to maintain your health. These are also nutrients that not many of us get enough of, especially with the type of food we tend to consume nowadays!
How Does Eating Tomatoes Benefit Me?
Well for starters there’s the reduced risk of many health conditions which should certainly be incentive enough to start adding tomatoes to your diet! One study even showed that a diet with plenty of tomatoes may lower the chances of developing pancreatic cancer, with lycopene linked to a risk reduction of 31%!
For diabetics, tomatoes are known to keep your blood sugar levels in check, as the chromium regulates it with great effect. The vitamin B and potassium will also help to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This leads to a much lower chance of suffering a heart attack or a stroke, as well as other life threatening heart conditions.
|Tomatoes can help reduce your cholesterol level (pic from finedininglovers.com)|
For mums that are breastfeeding, did you know that cooked tomatoes can help increase the lycopene content in your breast milk? Studies have shown that lycopene concentration will increase by cooking or processing your tomatoes much more than if you simply eat fresh slices.
|Fresh slices of tomatoes may taste better, but may not be as concentrated in lycopene (pic from auntmids.com)|
Your bones will also benefit from tomato consumption, as the calcium and vitamin K in tomatoes help to repair and strengthen your bones. Lycopene also improves your bone mass, helping you combat osteoporosis.
For the aesthetically conscious among you, tomatoes are known to improve the complexion if your skin. The beta-carotene offers protection against sun damage while the very active lycopene helps to reduce skin sensitivity to UV light, thus leading to less fine lines and wrinkles! Your hair will also benefit as the vitamin A keeps it shiny and strong. Remember, no amount of shampoo and conditioner can replace healthy hair to be sure to add some tomatoes to your diet!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a ton of other health benefits to be had from consuming tomatoes, and this is an ingredient readily available in many supermarkets around the country. Perhaps you might consider buying a few more next time around?