Tomatoes: A Wonder Food with Surprising Benefits
Tomatoes are one of the most beloved and accessible vegetables worldwide. They are a staple ingredient, present in everyday cuisine ranging from salads to soups. The rich taste and vibrant colours of a plump ripe tomato can be enhanced by savvy culinary techniques or enjoyed with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The versatility of the tomato allows it to be used in savory or sweet dishes, or even as a base for alcoholic beverages such as the classic Bloody Mary.
The tomato is often underestimated as a medicinal food that can help reduce the risks of cancer, improve cardiovascular health, lessen hypertension, regulate blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. It can also improve the health of our skin, hair, nails, and bones. The richness in minerals and nutrients essential for optimal well-being is what sets tomatoes apart from other vegetables. However, the majority of people are unaware of these benefits, making the tomato one of the most underrated foods today.
Here are six benefits and unexpected properties of tomatoes that may surprise you:
1. Tomatoes are good for our heart and circulation
Tomatoes are rich in potassium, an essential mineral that promotes optimal vein and muscle health, reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood pressure, and assists the kidneys to filter waste in the blood. Maintaining adequate levels of potassium in the body by eating tomatoes can drastically reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
For the maximum potassium intake, raw tomatoes are the best option. They can be diced for salads, sliced for sandwiches or blended for a refreshing juice. Uncooked tomatoes, combined with other fresh ingredients, can provide both delicious meals and sufficient potassium intake.
2. Tomatoes make us feel and look good
Tomatoes contain antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and beta carotene, which protect against free radicals that damage our cells. Free radicals and antioxidants are two critical components for maintaining good health and wellbeing. Tomatoes can keep hair shiny and strong, maintain good eye health, and allow the skin to remain glowing. By applying tomatoes directly to the skin with the flesh side down, the skin can also benefit from the vitamins and minerals present, even causing some temporary redness, which is not harmful.
3. Tomatoes boost the health of teeth and bones as we age
Calcium is a crucial element we need to keep our bones and teeth healthy, but as we age, we tend to lose it dramatically, leading to weakened bones and teeth. Consuming foods such as sun-dried tomatoes as they contain a considerable amount of calcium, helps to strengthen bones and teeth. Tomatoes prepared in different ways can impact the amount of calcium available, but it can be easily calculated.
4. Tomatoes reduce the risk of cancer
Lycopene is a red pigment found in foods like tomatoes, which can help prevent cell damage leading to the development of cancer. The quality and quantity of Lycopene in the body are boosted when such foods are consumed, reducing the risk of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers without bringing any adverse effects to the body. Lycopene levels are at their maximum when consumed when cooked and combined with a little fat.
5. Tomatoes are a great help to diabetics
Tomatoes contain chromium, a mineral that regulates blood sugar levels by causing insulin spikes. It is a beneficial property aiding in the prevention and management of diabetes. Studies have shown that a high intake of chromium found in foods like tomatoes can reduce the risk of diseases arising from high sugar consumption. The recommended daily intake of chromium varies by age group.
6. Tomatoes can repair damage done by smoking
Tomatoes contain chlorogenic acid and coumaric acid, which can help repair the damage caused by carcinogens in cigarettes. Chlorogenic acid is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and prevents cancer.
In conclusion, tomatoes are a wonder food, with benefits ranging from reducing cancer risks and improving cardiovascular health to promoting optimal vein and muscle functioning. They can also improve skin, hair, nails, and bone health, making them ideal for overall optimal health and wellbeing. Eating vegetables such as tomatoes helps balance nutrition and assist in reducing the risks of many degenerative diseases. Now that we are aware of the wonderful health benefits of tomatoes, incorporating them into our meals and daily diets can lead that much closer to a healthier lifestyle.