I remember growing up on a farm in Ohio and tasting the plum tomatoes from our garden and thinking how perfect they were. Juicy, red, and delicious. It spoiled me from ever being satisfied with hot house tomatoes grown for grocery chains. Although I loved the beautiful tomato in all its wonderful varieties, it was not until I was an adult that I realized how nutritionally beneficial they are. There are several health benefits of tomatoes.
My father suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for as many years as I can remember. I recall he loved loads of fresh tomatoes on his salads and on sandwiches. I don’t know for sure if he knew it was helping him or not, but he enjoyed them nonetheless. Tomatoes are one of the top 20 anti-inflammatory foods eaten raw, cooked and in sauces. This anti- inflammatory property helps with joint swelling as well as migraines. The tomato has gotten a bad rap when it comes to headaches, but studies have shown that several servings a week can help reduce the severity and longevity of migraines.
Because tomatoes are high in lycopene they also serve as an anti-cancer agent. The lycopene which causes the deep red pigment of tomatoes is richest in the skin of the tomato. As a result it is thought that sauces and purees made with whole tomatoes have a richer density of lycopene.
But that is just the beginning. Did you know tomatoes prevent DNA damage, provide us with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and reduce the risk of heart attack? There is a lot of power packed into one medium sized tomato (suggested daily dose). According to studies, 40% of our daily vitamin C and 20 % of our vitamin A is found in one medium tomato.
After a grueling round trip flight from Georgia to Arizona and back, I suffered from two deep vein thrombosis (DVTs) in my left leg. It was excruciating and I was on blood thinners for months. After doing a little research I discovered that drinking tomato juice daily reduced the platelet aggregation (forming of clots).
As if that were not enough, this dynamo of the food group also contains zea-xanthin which reduces macular degeneration in adults. By filtering out harmful ultra violet rays this fruit protects the aging eye.
Packed with vitamins, calcium, potassium and vitamin B complex, this juicy snack is considered a super food. Tomatoes can be found in almost every diet on the planet. They are low in calories, yet high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The tomato can be prepared in so many ways the versatility makes them a go-to for quick meals and snacks. Nutritionists and dietitians also prescribe tomatoes for cholesterol control.
I love tomatoes in all their glorious array of preparations. On pizza they add a sparkle of color and pop. In sauces they add an earthy and tangy flavor. Over pasta they are the royal jelly of spaghetti and lasagna.
You can check here if want to find out if a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable.
One thing that is most interesting; the tomato is actually nutritionally more beneficial in its cooked state than raw. Lycopene is more readily available to the body in cooked tomatoes. So consider that the next time you open a can of tomatoes or pasta sauce. Although tomatoes reduce the risk of most cancers they are especially touted as an anti-prostate cancer food.
Tomatoes can reduce the risk of sunburn after non protected time in the sun. Because the carotene is known to infiltrate cells and provide a protective barrier, consuming tomato based products after sunbathing reduces sunburn. Consumption of tomatoes in any form also improves the profile of fats in our bloodstream. In simple terms this means they reduce cholesterol.
As a diet food, the tomato has no equal. With less than 5 grams of carbs per medium tomato and only 18 calories, this super food packs a punch. It is sweet and tangy. The tomato is filling due to the high fiber content, and can be served in so many ways, it makes perfect sense to add it to any diet.
There are fad diets based solely on the tomato. I cannot tell you if they work or not, I can just tell you that the tomato is a super food with a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. When eaten in conjunction with any meal, they are rich, satisfying, sweet, and luscious. For me that is the epitome of a healthy food. If I cannot enjoy it, I won’t stick to it. But if you choose to start a fad diet please see your doctor before you start. It is always imperative that you know your overall health and what your body can endure. In the meantime, enjoy tomatoes on sandwiches, eat them like an apple with a dash of salt, or enjoy a rich tomato soup. Know that the benefits of adding tomato to your diet on a regular basis are great.
According to one study depression was reduced by 52% when the participants ate tomatoes daily. But if you aren’t a big fan, the study also showed that consuming tomatoes as few as two to six times per week still reduced depression by 46%!
These are some of the health benefits of tomatoes:
1. Lower cholesterol
2. Reduce the risk of blood clots
3. Reduce the risk of prostate cancer
4. Reduce the risks of sunburn
5. Add vitamins and minerals to your diet
6. Reduce inflamation
7. Reduce migraines
8. Use as a dietary supplement
9. Reduce the risk of other cancers
10. Reduce macular degeneration
11. Prevent DNA damage
12. Increases fiber intake
13. Reduce the risk of heart attack
14. Stop platelet aggragation
15. Reduces depression
You can check our creamy tomato soup recipe which is easy to make.
Whether you are a big fan of this lovely red fruit or not, the benefits far outweigh any diversion to taste or texture. Tomatoes are a super food providing a plethora of health benefits that are undeniable. Tomatoes come in a variety of colors and sizes and are one of the few foods that offers as many health rewards whether cooked or raw.