12 Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are probably the easiest “vegetable” for kids to eat. Ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and salsa don’t just make kids happy – they give kids the nutrients that they need to grow and stay healthy!
Tomatoes are truly a wonder fruit, and research has shown that cooking tomato actually intensifies its top antioxidant: lycopene. You’ve probably been told, over and over, how nutritious tomatoes are. Here are a dozen reasons why you should keep eating tomatoes!
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
1. Lycopene can help detoxify! – Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that gives tomatoes their characteristic red color. Lycopene also helps scoop up free radicals from the body. Free radicals can hasten oxidation of important cell proteins, hastening the aging process and damaging your cells.
Lycopene takes out free radicals and helps to slow down the aging process. Take note, though: although ketchup is high in lycopene, some additives such as salt or food coloring might not make ketchup an ideal thing to drink down. Always consume tomatoes in moderation!
2. Lower cancer risk – The lycopene in tomatoes can also help lower your risk of developing colorectal, cervical, or prostate cancer. Research has shown that lycopene can lower the risk of stomach, esophageal, mouth, and pharyngeal cancer as well.
Tomatoes also contain high levels of coumaric and chlorogenic acid, which can combat the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke.
3. Lower risk of heart disease – Tomatoes have also been found to decrease your risk for developing heart disease. Recent research has shown that 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid in tomato decreases the levels of fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream. Increased levels of fat and cholesterol don’t just thicken your arterial walls. They can even lead to type-2 diabetes.
4. Lower risk of osteoporosis – Tomatoes also have a fair amount of vitamin K and calcium, both of which contribute to bone growth and sustenance. As you grow older, the calcium stores of your body deplete faster, both as a result of age and to meet the needs of your immune system. Without an external source of calcium that you can easily absorb, you could develop osteoporosis.
5. Lower risk of skin damage due to UV light or age – The combination of lycopene and vitamins in tomato actually does wonders for your skin. Exposure to ultraviolet light can hasten skin aging, making your skin unevenly colored, wrinkled, and leathery.
Eating tomatoes can slow down this process, and help add a healthy glow to your skin.
6. Lower risk of cognitive dysfunction – As you grow older, you could also find it harder to remember things or think clearly. The vitamins in tomatoes help keep your brain healthy and can also lower your risk of developing cognitive dysfunction.
7. Lower risk of macular degeneration – Your body will inevitably fall apart as you grow older, but the speed at which it does so depends on a lot of factors, including your diet.
One sign of aging is macular degeneration, or the degeneration of the tissues of your eyes, which can lead to blindness. Research has shown that the vitamins in tomatoes can help lower your risk of developing macular degeneration as you get older.
8. Help in weight loss – Tomatoes, in general, fight inflammation. In general, lower inflammation in your body helps weight loss hormones to work properly. One such hormone is leptin, which can help regulate food intake and appetite.
Your body produces leptin naturally, but it can work only under the right circumstances. Tomatoes can help leptin work properly and aid you in losing weight.
9. Reduce risk of asthma and other lung disorders – Research has shown that tomatoes can lower your risk of developing asthma, as well as the damage brought about by asthma. It can also help reduce your risk for developing lung disorders.
This might be due to the high levels of vitamins and antioxidants present in tomatoes, which, together, help your body regenerate cells quicker.
10. Add immune system boost with vitamin C – Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost your immune system, allowing you to fight off infections faster and more efficiently. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant which helps detoxify your body when taken at the right doses.
11. Can help control sugar levels – We’ve already talked about tomatoes as lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But did you know that tomatoes can still help you keep your blood sugar levels low when you have diabetes? This is because tomatoes contain chromium, which aids in regulating blood sugar.
12. Better hair and skin! – Tomatoes are rich in both Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin A contributes to stronger keratin, making your hair stronger and shinier. The vitamins in tomatoes also aid in keeping your connective tissues healthier – that includes your eyes, bones, teeth, and skin.
Not only are tomatoes nutritious, they’re probably the most versatile food to cook! You can eat them raw and fresh in your salad. You can cook up a big batch of spaghetti sauce and release all the lycopene in your tomatoes. You can chop up tomatoes for some salsa, or add them to grilled cheese sandwiches. You can puree tomatoes for hearty tomato soup, or simmer meat and vegetables in it for a filling stew.
Whether you’re after them fresh or cooked, you’ll find that tomatoes are a delicious, nutritious addition to every meal. You’ll find yourself blushing with health soon enough!