Whether you consider it a fruit or a vegetable (officially it is a fruit), tomatoes provide us with a tremendous number of health benefits. They are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are also naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. They also provide us with thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary for good health. On top of that, one serving of tomatoes contains 2 grams of fiber, which is 7% of the daily recommended amount.
Tomatoes are high in Lycopene, a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes as well as other red fruits and vegetables. Lycopene has been linked to many health benefits including the ability to reduce the risk of several cancers, including prostate, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer, thus making them a natural cancer fighter. Studies have also shown that lycopene prevents skin damage from ultra-violet (UV) rays and offers protection from skin cancer. Lycopene has also been known to ward off osteoporosis as it improves bone mass. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are also both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.
Tomatoes (as well as the juice) have been credited by experts with boosting the immune system and helping to avoid flu and colds. These common illnesses are widely believed by doctors to be rooted in carotenoid deficiencies, including low amounts of lycopene and beta carotene in a patient's system. Tomatoes also contain a considerable amount of vitamin C. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
Tomatoes are a good source of riboflavin, which has been shown to be helpful in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. The high amounts of potassium found in this fruit have been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes can help keep your blood sugar in balance. They are a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.
The vitamin A that tomatoes contain can provide benefits to both your eyes and hair. Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition. Vitamin A can also improve vision while helping to prevent night blindness. The vitamin A can also work to make your hair strong and shiny.
Because of their all-round qualities, dietitians and nutritionists often recommend them to be included in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. Tomatoes can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Some of the best and tastiest ways to include them in your daily diet include:
Eating pickled tomatoes as a snack or serving them as a side dish at meal time. Pickled tomatoes are easy to make, can be stored for a long period of time. Click here for great pickled tomatoes recipes.
Drinking tomato juice or vegetable juice with tomatoes instead of carbonated beverages or beverages containing high amounts of sugar.