Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Vegetables >>  Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes members of Nightshade family are basically classified as fruits in botanical sense, but they lack the sweetness and dessert like qualities of other fruits. It is a subtle sweet taste with slight bitter and acidic taste (cooking masks the bitter taste and enhances the rich sweet taste). Tomatoes are available in the markets throughout the year, however fresh juicy tomatoes are best in season from July to September. Tomatoes can be used in a variety of preparations to enhance taste and are available in thousand different variety, shape, size and color. The French believe tomatoes to have aphrodisiac properties and thus call it pomme d’amour meaning ‘love apple’.

Health and tomatoes

  1. Lycopene an antioxidant in tomatoes is a hot topic for many researchers in last few years.
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    It is studies for its antioxidant and cancer preventing properties. Lycopene protects the body cells and structures from oxidative damage by scavenging the harmful free radicals in the body. Lycopene has found to have a protective effect against various types of cancers like colorectal, breast, prostate, lung, endometrial and pancreatic cancers. When compared to non-organic brands, organic food that include deep red organic tomatoes, tomato ketchup, tomato sauce, juice and other products supply many times more lycopene than the other counterpart. However many researches believe that the antioxidant benefits and cancer fighting properties are due to the synergy of other nutrients along with lycopene that are present in tomatoes.
  2. Lycopene from tomatoes especially from cooked version helps to maintain colon health and prostate health of an individual. When a diet rich in lycopene is consumed, it helps to decrease the risk of both colon cancer and prostate cancer.
  3. Besides lycopene tomatoes are packed with various other nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C which has antioxidant properties and work along with lycopene to reduce the risk of diabetes, atherosclerosis, colon cancer and inflammatory conditions like asthma.
  4. The fiber in tomatoes help to maintain the blood cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels and help prevent colon cancer.
  5. Tomatoes further help to reduce the heart disease risk and atherosclerosis as it is also a very good source for potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. All of these nutrients have been proved to protect the heart in one way or the other.
  6. The vitamin K present is tomatoes helps to maintain the bone health and may reduce blood clotting tendencies.
  7. Riboflavin and chromium form tomatoes also help people with migraines and diabetes respectively.
Moreover tomatoes when combined with broccoli or green tea team up to prevent or fight prostate cancer. Tomatoes are one of the common foods that are associated with allergic reactions, in such cases one should identify the allergen and avoid it completely.
Submitted on January 16, 2014
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