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Tomato Nutrition And Health Benefits

Known as a ‘love apple’ several hundred years ago, the tomato was initially used as an ornamental plant. Always the subject of debate and doubt, tomatoes were even considered poisonous by people about a hundred and fifty years ago. And even till today, people wonder if it is a vegetable or a fruit. But in spite of all the contradictions, it goes without saying that the tomato can add pizzas to anything and everything from a curry to a platter of pasta, a bowl of piping hot soup to piquant tomato chutney made with ripe tomatoes. Blanch it, puree it, dice it or just eat it raw – the tomato vegetable is here to stay and make our lives healthier.

History: Tomatoes made their way from Mexico into Europe in the latter half of the 16th century and soon after these were being grown in Italy and Spain. In fact, Italians use tomatoes extensively in their cooking and the delicious pasta sauce that they make with ripe as well as sun-dried tomatoes is well-known across the world. With over 4000 types of tomatoes these days, these plants can be identified by bunches of small yellow flowers that grow on the slender, hairy stems. The flowers turn into green tomatoes, which when turn ripe, change into luscious red or orange tomatoes. Tomatoes grow well in rich, fertile soil with good drainage and lots of sunshine.

Tomatoes For Health:

  • Tomatoes are good for health. Packed with nutrients, these glistening red bundles are storehouses of health. From everyday health to cancer, tomatoes look after our wellbeing.
  • Tomatoes are great sources of vitamin C and A, fiber, folate, potassium and other protective antioxidants.
  • Packed with flavonoids, tomatoes have anti-viral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Tomatoes keep the blood pressure in control and are good for people with hypertension.
  • If you are prone to common colds and viral fever, eating more tomatoes will help to combat the viruses and bacteria.
  • The lycopene is tomatoes can act as a sunscreen. In fact studies have shown that people who use more tomatoes in their cooking or eat more of these, can save themselves from sunburns.
  • Tomatoes are also said to increase the good HDL cholesterol, thus preventing cardiac problems.
  • The lycopene and beta carotene in tomatoes are good for fighting free-radicals and this prevents premature aging.
  • Lycopene is an important anti-oxidant that combats cancerous cell formation. Studies have shown that men, who consume more tomatoes on a daily basis, have less chances of contracting prostate cancer. Tomatoes also protect women from cervical, uterine and breast cancer.
  • Rich in carotenoid, tomatoes are good for the eyes and can prevent blindness.

Submitted on January 16, 2014