7 Health Reasons to Include More Tomatoes in Your Diet
Tomatoes are one of the world’s healthiest and diverse foods. Tomatoes are loaded with compounds which support many body functions. Grown in many varieties,, tomatoes can be prepared in various ways. Some people may eat tomatoes raw, such as in sandwiches or in salads. Others may like tomatoes in stews or soups.
Regardless of your preference for digesting these vegetables, washing tomatoes before you eat them is a good idea because of the levels of pesticides used to grow them. Also, people using beta blockers may want to consult their physician before eating this member of the nightshade family. In addition, individuals with certain gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases may wish to avoid tomatoes in foods. Nevertheless, this nutritious vegetable is ranked in the top five of fresh market foods sold in the United States. Frequently considered a fruit, tomatoes are also called vegetables when discussing cooking. I will use both descriptions of the tomato in this article.
As a counselor, I taught my students about agriculture, and we discussed the different ways to enjoy the nearly twenty thousand varieties of tomatoes. Indeed, my students were fascinated by the versatility and nature of tomatoes in many dishes. Since the tomato comes in different sizes and shapes, a person can find one type that he/she prefers. Here are some of the health benefits of the plant that we discussed. Below are seven reasons to consider munching on these tasty nutritious power houses on a regular basis.
In what way do you enjoy eating tomatoes?
Seven Reasons to Include More Tomatoes in Your Diet
- Vitamins and Minerals – Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, including: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6. Some of the minerals present in tomatoes are: copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, and traces of other metals. By changing the type of tomato you consume, you can vary the amount of minerals and vitamins you intake as well as other healthy substances. Cooking tomatoes can produce the best results for health.
- Antioxidants and Other Healthy Compounds – When you eat a tomato, the body receives plenty of antioxidants, which play a part in controlling cell damage. Tomatoes are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, which are phytonutrients, common in most plants. Some of these carotenoids are: lutein, gamma-carotene, and an extensive group of polyphenols.
- Preventing High Blood Pressure – Tomatoes are high in potassium, a mineral associated with widening of the arteries. Research has found less than 2% of Americans intake enough potassium daily. By reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium by eating tomatoes, a person would be helping reduce the possibility of developing the condition of hypertension (high blood pressure.) In addition, consumption of potassium is related to lessening the potential for developing kidney stones, preventing muscle deterioration, and preserving bone density. Tomatoes also contain calcium and other compounds associated with muscle response and healthy bones.
- Controlling Constipation – Tomatoes are high in fiber and water. Some people refer to tomatoes as a “natural laxative.” Consuming tomatoes may contribute to regular bowel movements.
- Skin and Eyes – The antioxidants in tomatoes assist with protecting the eyes from light damage. Intake of the antioxidant, zeaxanthin, plentiful in tomatoes, was found to be related to a decrease in the occurrence of diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating tomatoes is great for your vision. Furthermore, your skin benefits from including tomatoes in your diet. The body requires high Vitamin C content to make collagen for nails and connective tissues. Tomatoes provide this vitamin to your body.
- Diabetes – Adding tomatoes to meals can help control diabetes because of the plentiful fiber in the vegetable. Studies have shown increasing fiber intake for people with Type I diabetes reduces blood glucose levels. People with Type II diabetes benefited with better insulin levels when consuming tomatoes, according to research.
- Heart Protection – Choline and folate are abundant in tomatoes. Folate plays a role in balancing protein breakdown. This is crucial in preventing heart attacks. Along with other compounds found in this vegetable, support for your heart can be obtained from increasing tomatoes in your diet. If you are using beta blockers for a heart condition or any medical reason, check with your doctor before consuming tomatoes. This has to do with the interaction between beta blockers and potassium.
Have you ever considered growing tomatoes in a garden?
More Reasons to Add Tomatoes to Your Meals
For nearly two centuries, tomatoes were often considered poisonous to people. Scholars speculate the primary factor influencing this thinking happened to be that the tomato belongs to the night-shade family of plants, which includes peppers, . potatoes, tomatoes, and the egg plant. Cultivated by the original dwellers of South America, Solanum lycopersicum (the tomato plant), was brought to Europe by the Spanish. Now, the red “berry” of the tomato plant is found worldwide in countless foods with potent health properties. In fact, some estimates suggest tomatoes are the most produced fruit in the globe, possibly for many of these health benefits.
Although one particular compound found in tomatoes may not prevent the onset of any physical condition, the “synergistic” effect of these substances benefit many groups. Lycopene, and fiber, along with the high content of beta-carotene found in tomatoes, have been associated with a reduction in men developing prostate cancer. For pregnant women, tomatoes offer a nutrition filled snack. Calcium and other nutrients found in the fruit are important for the mother and growing baby. In spite of the health benefits related to digesting tomatoes, consulting with your doctor before making dietary changes is essential.
Health Properties of Tomatoes - WebMD. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-properties-tomatoes#1
Tomatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits – Healthline. Retrieved May 28, 2018, from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/tomatoes#section4
Why tomato is the world's favoured fruit - BBC News - BBC.com. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from: www.bbc.com/news/health-39139660